The leaf of the Bay Laurel plant, bay leaves are also known as sweet bay. Native to mediterranean climates, the plants can grow up to 12 metres, though in cooler climates it resembles a shrub growing to approximately 1.5 metres. The waxy, olive green bay leaves have a distinctive fragrance, often used to impart a woodsy flavor especially to Mediterranean cuisine. Used fresh, they have a slightly bitter taste, but strongly aromatic and best known for use in bouquets garnis. When dried, bay leaves take on an herbal characteristic, with an almost floral aroma.