What we grow - Biodiversity



Laurel (Laurus nobilis), is an aromatic and officinal plant belonging to the Lauraceae family, widespread in the Mediterranean basin, it is native to Anatolia and the Mediterranean regions, which over the centuries has been cultivated throughout southern Europe. The name of this plant derives from the genus from the Latin “laus” (Lode), to highlight the healing properties of the plant “praised” already by the ancients. The epithet of the species, namely “nobilis” means illustrious, important, famous. For others the vulgar name derives from the Celtic language “laur” (Green). The vulgar and the scientific name both have a Latin derivation, the Greeks called this plant Daphne by virtue of the legend that saw a nymph transformed into a laurel by Jupiter to escape from Apollo. Laurel is one of the most famous plants of antiquity, in fact, in ancient Greece and ancient Rome it was the symbol of peace and victory both in the military and in sports competitions, with its branches crowns were created to be placed on the head of the winners of the games and of the characters worthy of recognition and esteem, and therefore constituted the greatest honor. In ancient Greece, the laurel was the plant consecrated to Apollo, the God of music and poetry, lord of Delphi, the city where the first of the six temples erected in his honor was built with laurel branches, it was also the sacred plant consecrated to Asclepius, the son of Apollo, God of medicine and it is for this reason that for several centuries the plant especially the leaves were used as a cure for numerous diseases including the plague. According to ancient popular traditions, the Roman farmers, to ingratiate themselves with the favors of the Sun, had the custom of tying three laurel twigs with a red cord, in this way they would have favored a good harvest, helping to ripen and give well-being to the population. In the language of flowers and plants, laurel is considered the symbol of power, victory and glory and being an evergreen plant it is also a symbol of immortality.


It comes in the form of a shrub (As it is often pruned, being used as an ornamental plant or for the construction of hedges) but it is a real tree up to 10 meters high, with thin and hairless branches that form a dense pyramidal crown. The wood of the plant is aromatic and gives off the typical scent of the leaves, with an erect stem and blackish green bark. The leaves are ovate and dark green, leathery, glossy on the upper side and opaque on the lower side, very fragrant. Laurel is a dioecious plant, that is, it bears unisexual flowers in two different plants, one with male flowers and one with female flowers. The flowers are light yellow, gathered to form an umbrella inflorescence and appear in spring, generally in March-April. The fruits are black and shiny drupes with a single seed. Berries ripen in October-November.


The diffusion and wide use that is made of it in Sicilian cuisine have led the laurel to be included in the list of traditional Italian agri-food products of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies as a typical Sicilian product. The leaves can be used in the kitchen, to flavor meat and fish, as a home remedy to remove moths from the cupboards (Excellent and more fragrant substitute for camphor), to prepare refreshing decoctions with digestive qualities or foot baths, or treated with alcohol to obtain a fragrant and aromatic liqueur with digestive, stimulating, antiseptic properties and is useful against cough and bronchitis. From the berries it is possible to obtain an aromatic oil, laurine oil and with medicinal properties, a peculiar ingredient of the ancient Aleppo soap. It was also used to preserve books and parchments and to prepare the classic laurel wreaths. In March, when laurel blooms, especially in cold temperate climates where there are no other relevant blooms, it is an important source of nectar and pollen for bees. Its dried leaves protect the body from free radicals and harmful microorganisms and, thanks to the presence of vitamin C, stimulates the immune system. It is also a source of caffeic acid which helps to lower bad cholesterol, flavonoids, useful for keeping blood capillaries healthy, potassium, an essential pressure regulator and iron, an essential mineral for maintaining a good level of hemoglobin.


Laurel is a rustic plant, it grows well in all terrains and can be grown in any type of vegetable garden. Diffusion occurs very easily by seed (Diffused by birds that prey on fruit), or by suckers, which easily produces small woods produced by a single individual, or artificially by cuttings. Pollination is done by insects.