Interesting Facts About Bay Trees: Bloom During The Spring

The bay tree is a popular evergreen shrub suitable for containers or growing in the ground. Kept neatly clipped, the dark-green foliage can create stunning formal shapes that make an entrance or look perfect on a patio. Bay leaves can be used fresh or dried and are used in cooking to give a fragrant flavour to soups, stews and other dishes.
Bay tree, also known as bay laurel belongs to the laurel family. It originates from Mediterranean region, but it can be found around the world today. Bay tree grows in ravines, woodlands and thickets. It can grow as a tree with a single trunk or as bush composed of multiple trunks. It can reach from 33 to 59 feet in height.
It prefers fertile, well-drained soil (sandy soil, loam and clay) and areas that provide partial shade or full sun. People cultivate bay tree in ornamental purposes, as condiment and as a source of essential oils that are used in the cosmetic and medical industry.
Here are some interesting facts about bay trees:
1. Bay was symbol of victory and accomplishment in the past. Poets, athletes, soldiers and emperors in the ancient Greece and Rome were often wearing wreaths made of bay leaves.
2. Bay tree produces evergreen, leathery leaves that are lanceolate in shape. Leaves have prominent midrib and wavy margins.
3. Bay leaves are used as condiment, to improve flavor of soups, casseroles, sauces and stews. Leaves can be used dry or fresh. Dried leaves are more aromatic. Unlike other spices, bay leaves are added at the beginning of cooking because they require time to release flavor. Bay leaves have sharp edges that can injure mouth, and they need to be removed from a dish before serving. Dried, ground leaves can be safely consumed.
4. Fruit and leaves of bay tree are used in treatment of digestive disorders, bronchitis, influenza, hysteria, menstrual disorders, muscular sprains and earache. Oils extracted from the leaves has antibacterial (kill bacteria) and anti-fungal (kill fungi) properties.
5. Bay tree blooms during the spring. Male and female flowers are produced on separate trees (bay tree is dioecious plant). Flowers are star-shaped, yellow-green in color and organized in pairs. They are fragrant and filled with nectar which attracts bees that are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
6. Essential oils extracted from the bay leaves are used in cosmetic industry for the manufacture of various soaps and massage oils.
7. Bay tree propagates via seed, cuttings and air-layering (rooting of the branches while they are still on the mother plant).
8. Bay leaves has intense aroma that repel many insects. They can be used instead conventional insecticides in the gardens.
9. Wood of bay tree is sometimes used for smoking of meat because of its strong, aromatic smell.
10. Wood of bay tree is used in the manufacture of walking sticks and decorative items made of multi-colored wood pieces (marqueterie work).

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