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Welcome: June 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

Laurel :

common name for a flowering plant family, widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, and for its representative genus. The laurel family contains 45 genera and about 2,200 species. Several well-known and important members of the family also occur in temperate areas, for example, camphor, cinnamon, avocado, and sassafras. The sweet bay, also called bay laurel or simply bay, is a large evergreen shrub or tree native to the Mediterranean region; it has been important since Classical times (when it was used for a victor’s laurel wreath) and is now widely cultivated in warm temperate areas as an ornamental and for its aromatic leaves, which are used as a flavouring in cooking. It grows to a height of 6 to 18 m (20 to 60 ft) and has stiff, oval leaves that are
wavy at the edges. The flowers, which are small and inconspicuous, are yellowish or green.
The majority of species are evergreen trees or shrubs, although one genus consists of thread-like, twining parasites. The family contains many spices and is economically important.
The laurel family has a long fossil history. Several species, which are now found only in the Atlantic islands of the Azores, Canaries, and Madeira, are thought to represent relicts of ancient, pre-ice age forests of southern Europe.
Unrelated plants also called laurel include members of the genus Kalmia, along with several members of the cherry genus.

Scientific classification: Laurel is the common name for the family Lauraceae of the order Laurales. The sweet bay, or bay laurel, is classified as Laurus nobilis.

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