Sweet laurel or bay (Laurus nobilis)
Laurus nobilis is an evergreen Tree growing to 12 m or more at a slow rate. It can however, also be successfully grown in containers.
It is an evergreen tree. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
These seeds will form only on the female plant when its small yellow flowers give way in autumn to small, dark purple, egg-shaped berries. Each berry has a single seed inside.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate strong winds but not maritime exposure.
The most impressive health benefits of bay leaves include their probable anti-cancer properties, ability to detoxify the body and protect it frominfections, slow the aging process, speed wound healing, and manage diabetes. It also helps improve heart health, reduce inflammation, alleviate issues, and optimize digestion.
It not only has medicinal properties, but is also used in cooking.
The dried leaves have a warm aroma, which is infused into cooking. The leaf is crushed before being used. The leaf is used for flavoring stews, dishes that need a long time to cook and soups and can also be added to marinades, roasts and much more.
Bay leaves were used for flavoring by the ancient Greeks. They are a fixture in the cooking of many European cuisines (particularly those of the Mediterranean), as well as in the Americas. They are used in soups, stews, meat, seafood, vegetable dishes, and sauces. The leaves also flavor many classic French dishes.
Bay leaves can also be crushed or ground before cooking. Crushed bay leaves impart more fragrance than whole leaves, but are more difficult to remove, and thus they are often used in a muslin bag or tea infuser. Ground bay laurel may be substituted for whole leaves, and does not need to be removed, but it is much stronger.
The leaves can also be used scattered in a pantry to repel meal moths and flies and cockroaches.
How to grow Bay Leaf Trees from Seed:
Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours and then plant them immediately afterwards. Fill a seed tray with a layer of moist soilless seed mix. Spread the seeds out over the surface, keeping them about 5 cm apart and press them gently into it. Cover the seeds with a bit more moist soilless mix. Dampen the medium with a spray bottle. Make sure to just lightly moisten, not saturate the mix or the seeds will rot. Place the seed tray in a warm area of around 21 C, that gets up to 8 hours of sun per day. Keep the seeds moist to slightly on the dry side as they germinate. Keep an eye on the progress of the seeds and be patient. It can take from 10 days to up to 6 months for the bay seeds to germinate. Transplant the bay seedlings into pots or into the garden proper when leaves begin to appear.
The seeds on offer here, are fresh seeds, harvested from my own bay leaf trees.