Laurus nobilis
LAW-rus NO-bil-is

Sweet Bay, Grecian Laurel
Lauraceae (Laurel family)
Origin: Mediterranean Region, 1562

 

 

 

 

 

 

©Street Tree Division
City of Los Angeles - Department of Public Works
Bureau of Street Services

Species characteristics:
Form - Evergreen. Small to medium sized tree with slow growth up to 40' and to 30' wide. Natural habit is compact, broader at the base, in a conical shape. Tends to sucker frequently when young.

Trunk - Smooth, gray bark

Foliage - The shiny lanceolate leaves are stiff, leathery, and aromatic, 2 - 4" long and 3/4 - 1 1/2" wide. Alternately arranged, glabrous, with entire margins. Dark green leaves have the traditional bay leaf scent when crushed and can be used for seasoning.

Flowers/fruit - Clusters of small light yellow flowers that appear in inconspicuous axillary clusters in February and March, are followed by 1/2 - 1" long, ovoid, black or dark purple single-seeded drupes.

Cultivars - 'Saratoga' has broader leaves and more erect growth habit.

Significant pest problems are psyllids and scale.

Site suitability:

Sunset zones - 8, 9, and 14 - 24.

Clearances - Suitable for 5' minimum parkways, medians or cutouts. Suitable under utility lines.

Good for street sides, medians, and parks and lawns.

Culture considerations:
Tolerant of a wide range of soils, but needs good drainage. Relatively drought tolerant once established. In hot summer climates the tree does best in filtered shade.

Comments, notes:
Favorite tree of the Greek poets to whom it was a symbol of achievement and is famous due to tile Olympics.