Laurus nobilis (Bay Leaf Tree)

Known as both bay laurel and sweet bay. An evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean that grows to around 30 ft. and is especially drought tolerant once established. The leaves have many culinary applications and are one of the few herbs that are more potent fresh than dried. Some superstitions insist that those who get the bay leaf in their plate will have good luck. Leaves and sprigs of this tree were woven into wreaths and crowns as a symbol of victory in Ancient Greece and probably Rome as well.

We grow several different cultivars and forms but they are all more or less equal in terms of culinary potency and application. The main differences are in the shape and color of their leaves, speed of growth,  and eventual height.

Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Can be grown in containers but will be considerably less cold hardy than if grown in the ground since their roots would be more exposed to the elements. 

Height: to 40 ft.    Spread: to 15 ft.

Laurus nobilis

A common form with smooth green leaves. Grows at a moderate speed to 30 ft.

f. angustifolia

Sold as willow-leaf bay and narrow-leaf bay. A form with narrow leaves allegedly hardier than the species. Grows to 25 ft.


A selection with bright gold leaves on new growth in spring and fall. Grows to 30 ft.


A selection with very large, rounded leaves. Grows to 20 ft.


syn. 'Undulata'

Often sold as wavy leaf bay and apparently 'pie crust bay' as well. A selection with undulated leaf margins. Grows to only 15 ft. and is one of the best for containers. 


A poorly named selection with bright gold leaves that are much showier than 'Aurea.' It should have been named 'Sardinian Sunshine' or something more fun. Grows to 20 ft.

'Saso's Dwarf'

A selection from Saso Herb Farm of Saratoga, CA. Very compact growth with especially dark green leaves. Grows to 20 ft. or more.


An introduction by Cistus Design Nursery via a selection of Mike Remmick of McMinnville, OR. Very upright with reddish stems and fluted leaves. Grows to 25 ft.


A selection from Cotswold Garden Flowers with splashed variegated leaves. Grows to 40 ft.