How to Identify Trees From the Laurel Family. Laurels are flowering plants of the order Laurales. There are many genera of Laurales and many different plants known as laurel. The most well known is probably the genus Laurus, which includes the Bay Laurel. Bay leaves are a popular culinary herb, and laurel wreaths were used as tokens of honor in the classical world. Spice bush, avocado, and sassafras are also members of the order Laurales. The Bay Laurel, also called the True Laurel, in distinguished by several features.
Know if the tree is evergreen or deciduous. Laurels are evergreen trees and do not shed their leaves in winter.
Study the tree's leaves. Bay leaves are anywhere from 2 to 5 inches long and about an inch to an inch and a half wide. They are stiff and glossy and quite aromatic.
Look for inconspicuous flowers. Bay Laurel flowers are pale yellow or green and very tiny. They appear in pairs next to a leaf.
Search for the presence of fruit. After flowering, laurels produce a small, dark berry with a seed inside it.
Consider where the tree is growing. Most laurels thrive in subtropical environments. The Bay Laurel is native to the Mediterranean region. In more northerly climates small specimens may be seen in herb gardens where they are grown as an annual culinary herb.