Plant DetailShow Menu

Laurus nobilis

Phonetic Spelling
law-russ NO-bil-iss
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Sweet Bay is an evergreen tree or shrub in the laurel family native to the Mediterranian area. In its native habitat, it can reach up to 60 feet tall. In NC it is generally grown in a container as a patio or houseplant and is much smaller. The aromatic leaves are used in cooking such as soups and pasta. It has separate male and female plants with only the female ones producing the berry-like drupes.

It tolerates a variety of well-drained soil types in full sun to partial shade. It grows slowly but has been used as a hedge or as a topiary. It needs to be brought indoors in the winter in areas colder than zone 8b to prevent frost damage.  

Use it as a small tree in an herb garden, or plant several for a screen or a privacy hedge.  It can be pruned into a topiary.  Its evergreen leaves and fissured dark gray bark make it an excellent choice as a specimen for shady locations and also give it good winter interest.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Scales and psyllid are occasional pests.  This plant is susceptible to laurel wilt, Phytophthora, and root rot. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#houseplant#container plant#fragrant leaves#interiorscape#winter interest#topiary#hedges#low flammability#screening#edible leaves#leathery leaves#evergreen tree#patio planting#problem for cats#herb#problem for dogs#problem for horses#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#houseplant#container plant#fragrant leaves#interiorscape#winter interest#topiary#hedges#low flammability#screening#edible leaves#leathery leaves#evergreen tree#patio planting#problem for cats#herb#problem for dogs#problem for horses#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Lauris
    Species:
    noblis
    Family:
    Lauraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    It is used in herbal medicine and in massage therapy.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mediterranean
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Trees attract birds.
    Edibility:
    Leaves are used to flavor foods.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herb
    Houseplant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Conical
    Dense
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small black or purple berries 1/4"-1/2". Dried fruits can cause a litter problem.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Dioecious, meaning there are male and female trees. Green, white, or yellow flowers appear in the spring from March to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Simple, alternate, ovate blue-green to silvery gray green, with smooth margins.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Problems:
    Messy
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting and diarrhea, Large ingestion of whole leaves can cause obstruction
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Eugenol, and other essential oils
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No