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Laurus novocanariensis (Garafia) 01 ies.jpg
Laurus novocanariensis
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Magnoliids
Order: Laurales
Family: Lauraceae

Laurus is a genus of evergreen trees belonging to the laurel family, Lauraceae. The genus contains three or more species, [1] including the bay laurel or sweet bay, L. nobilis, widely cultivated as an ornamental plant and a culinary herb.

Evergreen plant that has leaves in all four seasons

In botany, an evergreen is a plant that has leaves throughout the year that are always green. This is true even if the plant retains its foliage only in warm climates, and contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season. There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs. Evergreens include:

Tree Perennial woody plant with elongated trunk

In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants with secondary growth, plants that are usable as lumber or plants above a specified height. Trees are not a taxonomic group but include a variety of plant species that have independently evolved a woody trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants to compete for sunlight. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns, bananas, and bamboos are also trees. Trees have been in existence for 370 million years. It is estimated that there are just over 3 trillion mature trees in the world.

Lauraceae family of plants

Lauraceae are the laurel family, that includes the true laurel and its closest relatives. This family of flowering plants comprises about 2850 known species in about 45 genera worldwide. They are dicotyledons, and occur mainly in warm temperate and tropical regions, especially Southeast Asia and South America. Many are aromatic evergreen trees or shrubs, but some, such as Sassafras, are deciduous, or include both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, especially in tropical and temperate climates. Cassytha is a genus unique to the Lauraceae in that it is a genus of parasitic vines.



They are slow-growing, large, evergreen aromatic shrubs or trees with alternate, ovate leaves and insignificant yellow male and female flowers borne on separate plants (dioecious). They are frost-hardy but in temperate zones they require a sheltered spot in full sun that is not subject to prolonged freezing. Plants in pots can be moved into a cold greenhouse during the winter months. [2]


The number of species in the genus has not yet been fully resolved. The following may or may not be included. [1]

<i>Laurus azorica</i> species of plant

Laurus azorica is a species of plant in the Lauraceae family, related to Laurus nobilis. It is a small aromatic tree. A recent study found considerable genetic diversity within L. nobilis, and that L. azorica is not genetically or morphologically distinct.

Azores Portuguese archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean

The Azores, officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores, is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. It is an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km (850 mi) west of continental Portugal, about 1,643 km (1,021 mi) west of Lisbon, in continental Portugal, about 1,507 km (936 mi) northwest of Morocco, and about 1,925 km (1,196 mi) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.

Cortegada Island tidal island in the coast of Pontevedra in Galicia, Spain

Cortegada is an almost tidal island in a coastal inlet near Pontevedra in Galicia, Spain. It is part of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park.

Fossil history

Very old laurel trees on Madeira island Fanal Madeira 2016 2.jpg
Very old laurel trees on Madeira island

Fossils dating from before the Pleistocene glaciations show that species of Laurus were formerly distributed more widely around the Mediterranean and North Africa, when the climate was more humid and mild than at present. It is currently thought that the drying of the Mediterranean basin during the glaciations caused Laurus to retreat to the mildest climate refuges, including southern Spain, Portugal and the Macaronesian islands. With the end of the last glacial period, L. nobilis recovered some of its former range around the Mediterranean.

The Pleistocene is the geological epoch which lasted from about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the world's most recent period of repeated glaciations. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology.

North Africa Northernmost region of Africa

North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to top North-Western countries like Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by all Arabs as the Maghreb. The most commonly accepted definition includes Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa", particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Related Research Articles

Bay leaf aromatic leaf of Laurus nobilis

The Bay leaf is an aromatic leaf commonly used in cooking. It can be used whole, or as dried and ground.

Laurel may refer to:

Bay rum

Bay rum is a type of cologne and aftershave lotion. Other uses include as under-arm deodorant and as a fragrance for shaving soap, as well as a general astringent.

<i>Laurus nobilis</i> species of plant

Laurus nobilis is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glabrous leaves, in the flowering plant family Lauraceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is used as bay leaf for seasoning in cooking. Its common names include bay tree, bay laurel, sweet bay, true laurel, Grecian laurel, or simply laurel. Laurus nobilis figures prominently in classical Greco-Roman culture.

<i>Zelkova</i> genus of plants

Zelkova is a genus of six species of deciduous trees in the elm family Ulmaceae, native to southern Europe, and southwest and eastern Asia. They vary in size from shrubs to large trees up to 35 m (115 ft) tall. The bark is smooth, dark brown. Unlike the elms, the branchlets are never corky or winged. The leaves are alternate, with serrated margins, and a symmetrical base to the leaf blade. The leaves are in two distinct rows; they have pinnate venation and each vein extends to the leaf margin, where it terminates in a tooth. There are two stipules at each node, though these are caducous, leaving a pair of scars at the leaf base. Zelkova is polygamous. Staminate flowers are clustered in the lower leaf axils of young branchlets; the perianth is campanulate, with four to six lobes, and the stamens are short. Pistillate and hermaphrodite flowers are solitary, or rarely in clusters of two to four, in the upper leaf axils of young branchlets. The fruit is a dry, nut-like drupe with a dorsal keel, produced singly in the leaf axils. The perianth and stigma are persistent.

<i>Prunus laurocerasus</i> species of plant

Prunus laurocerasus, also known as cherry laurel, common laurel and sometimes English laurel in North America, is an evergreen species of cherry (Prunus), native to regions bordering the Black Sea in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe, from Albania and Bulgaria east through Turkey to the Caucasus Mountains and northern Iran.

<i>Persea</i> genus of plants

Persea is a genus of about 150 species of evergreen trees belonging to the laurel family, Lauraceae. The best-known member of the genus is the avocado, P. americana, widely cultivated in subtropical regions for its large, edible fruit.

Laurel forest Type of subtropical forest

Laurel forest, also called laurisilva or laurissilva, is a type of subtropical forest found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable, mild temperatures. The forest is characterized by broadleaf tree species with evergreen, glossy and elongated leaves, known as "laurophyll" or "lauroid". Plants from the laurel family (Lauraceae) may or may not be present, depending on the location.

<i>Viburnum tinus</i> species of plant

Viburnum tinus is a species of flowering plant in the family Adoxaceae, native to the Mediterranean area of Europe and North Africa. Laurus signifies the leaves' similarities to bay laurel.

<i>Picconia</i> genus of plants

Picconia is a genus of two species flowering plants in the family Oleaceae, found in the laurel forests habitat, of Macaronesia.

<i>Prunus lusitanica</i> species of plant

Prunus lusitanica, the Portugal laurel, is a species of the genus Prunus, related to the cherry. It is native to southwestern France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and Macaronesia.

<i>Persea indica</i> species of plant

Persea indica is a species of plant in the Lauraceae family. It belongs to the evergreen tree genus Persea of about 150 species, of which the avocado, P. americana, is the best known.

<i>Picconia azorica</i> species of plant

Picconia azorica is an endemic species of Picconia, common to majority of the islands of the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, locally referred to as Pau-branco, it is threatened by habitat loss.

Paleotropical Kingdom

The Paleotropical Kingdom (Paleotropis) is a floristic kingdom comprising tropical areas of Africa, Asia and Oceania, as proposed by Ronald Good and Armen Takhtajan. Part of its flora, inherited from the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana or exchanged later, is shared with the Neotropical Kingdom, comprising tropical areas of Central and South America. Moreover, the Paleotropical flora influenced the tropical flora of the Australian Kingdom. The Paleotropical Kingdom is subdivided into five floristic subkingdoms according to Takhtajan and about 13 floristic regions. In this article the floristic subkingdoms and regions are given as delineated by Takhtajan.

Flora of Italy

The flora of Italy was traditionally estimated to comprise about 5,500 vascular plant species. However, as of 2005, 6,759 species are recorded in the Data bank of Italian vascular flora. Geobotanically, the Italian flora is shared between the Circumboreal Region and Mediterranean Region. According to the index compiled by the Italian Ministry for the Environment in 2001, 274 vascular plant species were protected.

Pico da Vara is the highest mountain on the island of São Miguel, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, and principal special protection of the Nature Reserve of Pico da Vara. The area around the mountain includes the largest remaining stand of the native laurisilva forest on the island, home to the critically endangered endemic Azores bullfinch.

L. nobilis may refer to:

<i>Laurus novocanariensis</i> species of plant

Laurus novocanariensis is an large shrub or tree with aromatic, shiny dark-green foliage. belonging to the evergreen tree genus Laurus of the laurel family, Lauraceae. The genus includes three species, whose diagnostic key characters often overlap. Under favorable conditions it is an impressive tree of 3 to 20 m. tall. It is native of rich soils in the cloud zone of always moist spots in subtropical climate with a high air-humidity, on the Canary and Madeira islands.


  1. 1 2 "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species".
  2. Brickell, Christopher, ed. (2008). The Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 612. ISBN   9781405332965.
  3. Arroyo–García, R.; Martínez–Zapater, J. M.; Fernández Prieto, J. A.; Álvarez-Arbesú, R. (2001). "AFLP evaluation of genetic similarity among laurel populations (Laurus L.)". Euphytica. 122: 155–164. doi:10.1023/A:1012654514381.

Further reading