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a genus of evergreen trees or shrubs of the family Lauraceae. The leaves are alternate, leathery, and entire. The flowers are in axillary umbels. The blue-black fruits are monospermous and drupelike. There are two species, found predominantly in the Mediterranean region. Laurus nobilis is a low tree (2–20 m), with smooth branches and shiny, oblong-lanceolate leaves.
In the USSR this species grows in the lower forested mountain zone of Western Transcaucasia. Commercial cultivation is concentrated primarily in Georgia. The leaves are used in the canning and confectionery industries; they are also used in cooking as an aromatic seasoning. A fatty essential oil is obtained from the leaves, which is used in some countries in medicine, veterinary medicine, and soapmaking. Laurel wood is used in the manufacture of small items. L. nobilis, an ornamental that tolerates pruning, has been cultivated since early antiquity. The laurel wreath and the laurel branch are symbols of glory, victory, and grandeur. The species L. azorica grows on the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Madeira Island. It is rarely cultivated in the USSR.
REFERENCESSvanadze, E. K. Kul’tura lavra ν SSSR. Tbilisi, 1951.
Vorontsov, V. V. Lavr blagorodnyi. Krasnodar, 1964.
V. N. GLADKOVA