Although in Malta the Bay Laurel, Ir-Randa, is rarely found in the wild, it is often cultivated as an ornamental plant. This tree is a true native of Malta and there even exist fossil leaves which can confirm this!
In the past, this tree was greatly esteemed and was even used as a symbol of victory in crowns and garlands of honour. And today still, because of its distinctive flavour and fragrance, the leaves of the Bay Laurel are dried and used in cooking - such as in stews and soups.
The Bay Laurel is an evergreen shrub or small tree, which is especially known for its aromatic leaves, which are leathery and have a dark glossy green colour. On the same tree there are separate male and female flowers, which are greenish-yellow and very fragrant.
The Bay Laurel is a protected tree under national legislation and one should not prune, cut, fell or uproot such a tree without having prior authorisation from the competent authorities.
The habitat type dominated by Bay Laurel is considered a priority habitat type under the EC Habitats Directive. Unfortunately, this not does have a good conservation status. Nonetheless, MEPA is helping to afford protection to this habitat type through the designation of Special Areas of Conservation which support important Bay Laurel communities.