Bay Laurel

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Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis Lauraceae) is a locally found tree that grows up to 40' tall (easily kept lower by pruning) with aromatic leaves that are used in cooking. Native to the Mediterranean region, it has small flowers that are light yellow-green and small black fruits. There is a staminate cultivar called 'Saratoga' that produces no fruit. There is a related species [wikipedia]California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica) of tree native to the Northern Coast Range.

Bay leaves are most commonly used today in cooking, but they are also the leaves that were twisted into a "U" shape and placed as a crown atop the head of winners in ancient Greece (i.e., "Laurels"). People going for the collegian toga look could possibly use them today for a spicy smelling accessory. Alternatively, people who succeeded in the past and are now just relaxing could make a bed from them and rest on their laurels. A pair of green laurels over a yellow shield is the emblem of the Society for Creative Anachronism, as appears on bumperstickers around town.

Bay has antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant properties.

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