Laurel, Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis), native of the Mediterranean. Highly esteemed since ancient times. In ancient Greece it was dedicated to Apollo. The laurel wreath was presented to victors of athletic contests and to those awarded academic honour. Crushed leaves exude aromatic oils and are used in cookery.
Trees and shrubs of the Mediterranean by Helge Vedel, translated from the Danish by Aubrey Rush (Penguin Guides, 1978), p.426-27.