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Plant Informational Database

Mexican Bay

Litsea glaucescens

a.k.a. Laurel

A fairly uncommon shrubby tree best known for its use as a culinary spice. Many parts of the plant contain essential oils that are reminiscent of the bay leaf.

Seed Availability

Seeds are not available for the Mexican Bay. Please visit our seed store to view current selections.

Description

A small, evergreen tree growing to 15-20 feet. Leaves are leathery and elongated in shape, growing up to 3". They are distinct in having a blue-green coloration to their undersides. Flowers are small, white-green in color. Fruits are small, at most 1/2" across and ripen to a deep purple-black. There are supposedly a handful of varieties or variants of this species, though minimal attention seems to be given to propagating select types.

Hardiness

Hardy to short frosts. Minimum hardiness is not known.

Growing Environment

Grows well in full or filtered sun. Makes a good candidate for container culture.

Propagation

By seeds and cuttings.

Uses

The plant is used as a spice, notably as a substitute for bay (Laurus nobilis). Its culinary use is mainly confined to Mexico, where it has attained popularity in a number of regions there.

Native Range

Native to Southern Mexico, mainly Chiapas, Veracruz, Tepic, and Tamaulipas as well as parts of Central America.

Related Species

Lauraceae  
Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Cinnamon
Litsea garciae
Litsea
Litsea glaucescens
Mexican Bay
Persea americana
Avocado