Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Laurus nobilis L.

Frost hardy, evergreen conical tree or large shrub with glossy, ovate leaves, to 10cm long, and clusters of greenish flowers, to 5mm across, in spring, followed by black berries in female plants. To 12m.  [RHSE, Hortus. Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

An important culinary herb, cultivated in England since at least 1562.  [PD].  ‘The Bay Tree.  Laurus.  The Bay Tree seldom grows to any great bigness here, the leaves are a dark green above & a pale underneath, ye flowers are yellowish and the berries black.  It grows wild in Spain, Italy and France, flowering in May, the fruit being ripe in October.  The leaves and berries are accounted heating, drying, and emollient good for wind in the stomach and bowels, helping ye colic, comforting ye head and nerves, preventing infections, provoking urine and the menses, & expelling the secundines.  Outwardly they are used in warming and strengthening fomentations & ointments.  Official preparations are, the Elect de Baccis Lauri; Emp. de Baccis Lauri; and the Oleum Laurinum.’  [Blackwell pl.175/1737].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.630/1843].  A very large clump, much suckered, probably originating from an early planting, still grows close to the house at Camden Park.  A much-suckered tree also survives in the now abandoned Lower Garden, William Macarthur’s original garden.


Published Mar 03, 2010 - 11:38 AM | Last updated Jul 25, 2010 - 04:07 PM

Figured are lance-shaped, glossy leaves, tiny axillary flowers and black berries.  Blackwell pl.175, 1737.

Laurus nobilis L. | Blackwell pl.175/1737 | BHL

Family Lauraceae
Region of origin


Common Name

Bay laurel, Bay tree, Sweet bay, Victor?s laurel, Poet?s laurel

Name in the Camden Park Record

Laurus nobilis - Bay Tree 

Confidence level high