spice trees in Mediterranean climates

by Caro
(Cape Town)

Laurus nobilis

Laurus nobilis

The Laure, Laurus nobilis, loves Mediterranean climates. It was used as a head decoration for heroes in ancient times, hence the laurel wreath, and 'laurels' connoting honour and many other idioms and associated lore. It is also the spice bay leaf. When fresh it has a delightful Cola aroma. It has a Meso-American cousin, the avocado, or Persea americana, also in the laurel family Lauraceae. The name avocado comes from the Nahuatl language ahuacatl. Avocado fruit have been used for culinary purposes in Meso-America for at least then thousand years. For more on Mayan food see http://www.lookingatcooking.com/Mayan-food.html. What came as a real surprise to me and should not have, is that apparently the dried leaves of avocado are used to flavour food in Meso-America, much like the laurel is in the Mediterranean. However this information comes from online research which can be terrible misinforming, so please don't try it without doing your own research. Avocados do not like frost or too much wind. They grow wonderfully in Cape Town which very seldom has frost, but they don't bear many fruit on most trees I've seen.

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May 26, 2017
Avocado and Laurel forests
by: Caroline

According to Heidi Gildemeister there are still isolated Laurel forests in the Mediterranean, and I've seen these trees grow very big in Cape Town (in Oranjezicht on black soil). I had an avocado canopy which was really dark underneath, outside my bedroom in Rondebosch (on sand with koffieklip a few metres below), loved to sit and have tea there. It grew half in the road and was never watered, so its tough, but it also never produced but one small pear in fifty years.

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