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I bought a bay tree the other day, Laurus Nobilis. The intention is to have my own supply of bay leaves for cooking. On reading the label however, at the bottom it says ornamental only, not for consumption. Now I know that L. Nobilis is the culinary variety, so is it just a backside covering job, just in case they got it wrong? How can you tell if its the right plant?
Laurus nobilis is the culinary bay - whoever did you buy it from, or who was their supplier who wrote the label?
Just pick a leaf and tear it. The smell of bay is unmistakable.
Bought it from Aldi !! Standard bay tree £9.99. I only got it because it said L. Nobilis on the label. Didn't read the small print though !
My parents bought some from Aldi a couple of years ago and that had the same not for consumption thing, they have been using them for cooking happily.
That said, it is possible the bays were sprayed for insecticide and are just covering themselves, if you are worried about that, then maybe leave it a few months just to be sure.
I've just crushed one and it smells very bay leaf to me. I think your right, its possible they've used a systemic insecticide and it needs time to work itself through.
Take it out of the pot and examine the roots, sometimes they are potted in very little decent compost.