Tender, slow growing, evergreen shrub
Description: Aromatic, deep glossy green foliage used in cooking
Habit: Can reach 40 feet out of doors, often with suckers at the base, but easily kept in a container for many years
Culture: Prefers rich loam with abundant moisture and light; avoid direct, midday sun, especially in southern regions
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 through 10
Attributes: Fragrant foliage, Edible, Evergreen
This handsome Mediterranean species is the true laurel of antiquity into which the nymph Daphne was transformed; and, afterward, Apollo made into a sacred tree. A garland of Sweet Bay branches, worn by conquerors and poets, symbolized triumph and prophesy. Its cultivation in Europe and Britain dates to the early 1500's and it maintained its association with ancient Roman superstition and mystery well into the seventeenth century. The aromatic leaves are used also in cooking and yield an essential oil used in perfumery and medicine. Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon included Sweet Bay in a lengthy list of "Green-house Trees and Shrubs" for the appendix of The American Gardener's Calendar, 1806.
The young plant is approximately 6" tall and not as pictured above.