The Bay is the true Laurel, of whose leaves and
berries the wreaths were made in ancient days
for poets and conquerors.
Naturally it is more of a shrub than a tree, for
though it often attains a height of sixty feet,
it persists in sending up so many suckers that
the tree-like character is lost.
The Bay is a native of Southern Europe, whence
it was introduced at some date prior to 1562.
The evergreen leaves are lance-shaped, without
toothed edges, and arranged alternately on the
Not all the trees produce the berries, for the
sexes are in distinct individuals, and all the
white or yellowish four-parted flowers on one
tree are stamen-bearing, whilst on another individual
they all bear ovaries and no stamens.
The flowers will be found in April or May.
The berries, at first green, ultimately become
of a dark purple hue, and are ripe in October.
The Bay is grown chiefly as a shrubbery ornament,
and can only survive our winters out-of-doors
in the South of England.