True laurel plants are evergreen trees and SHRUBS. The trees may grow as high as fifty feet while the shrubs may grow to be fifteen feet tall. The laurel is often grown as a large potted plant. It is easily pruned to grow in interesting shapes. These plants are often used on terraces as ornaments. Laurels have small yellow flowers and dark purple berries. Florists often use the dark green glossy leaves in flower arrangements. Oils and some medicines are extracted from laurel berries and leaves.
   Laurel plants are grown from seeds or cuttings. They should be planted in rich, humus-filled soil and kept moist. They must be protected from winter cold. Laurels do not make good house plants because of the dry heat.
   The ancient Greeks used crowns of laurel leaves to honor winners of the Pythian games. Later, laurel crowns indicated academic achievement.