Information submited: 2015-02-12 Modified: 2018-05-09 By: 1
Laurus Nobilis is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region. Laurus Nobilis figures prominently in classical Greek, Roman, and Biblical culture. The Laurel can vary greatly in size and height, sometimes reaching 10 - 18 metres tall. Laurus is a genus of evergreen trees belonging to the Laurel family, Lauraceae.
Most of the last remaining laurel forests around the Mediterranean are believed to have disappeared approximately ten thousand years ago, although some remnants still persist in the mountains of southern Turkey, northern Syria, southern Spain, north-central Portugal, northern Morocco, Canary Islands and in Madeira.
Bay Laurel was used to fashion the laurel wreath of ancient Greece, a symbol of highest status. A wreath of Bay Laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Games because the games were in honor of Apollo, and the laurel was one of his symbols.
The symbolism carried over to Roman culture, which held the Laurel as a symbol of victory. Ovid tells the story in the Metamorphoses that Laurel tree was first formed when the nymph Daphne was changed into a Laurel tree because of Apollo's pursuit of her. Daphne is the Greek name for the tree.
In the Bible, the laurel is often an emblem of prosperity and fame. In Christian tradition, it symbolizes the resurrection of Christ.
It grows wild in Spain, Italy and France, flowering in May, the fruit being ripe in October. The fruit is a small, shiny black berry-like drupe about 1 cm long that contains one seed.
Both essential and fatty oils are present in the fruit. The fruit is pressed and water-extracted to obtain these products. The fruit contains up to 30% fatty oils and about 1% essential oils (terpenes, sesquiterpenes, alcohols, and ketones).