What are Olympian "laurels" made of?

Off-topic, of course, but connected with flora. Please forgive me.
Does anyone recognize what plant is being used for the wreaths with which the Olympic medal winners are being crowned? It is certainly not laurel, which is the traditional source of the branches for this purpose.
Actually, laurel is an edible plant, good in stews and soups, so this is not as off-topic as I first thought.
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Stan Goodman
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The wreath is actually an olive wreath, made of olive leaves, like those used in the early olympics by the Greeks. The wreaths are proving so popular that there is talk that they may be used in future Olympics.
The Romans also adopted the custom of bestowing wreaths for meritorious service, and they used often laurel, which was supposed to be a symbol of the god Saturn and of the Caesars. The laurel they used is a variety of bay laurel, the stuff of the kitchen, which was highly prized for medicine and cooking, even then. The death of a bay tree in a household garden was a portent of great evil for the home, btw.
(Did not pay to be a lousy gardener in Roman times!) -=>epm<=-
In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same. - Albert Einstein
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hmmm...I thought it was Bay...but I certainly could be wrong.

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On Wed, 25 Aug 2004 21:01:15 UTC, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com.no.junk (EvelynMcH) opined:

Doesn't look like olive. The green is too bright. Olive trees are almost grey.

I don't know what "bay laurel" is. The plant that grows around the Mediterranean is L. Nobilis, which is ubiquitous here. It would take over my lot, if I let it.
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You're correct - it's the Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) - not the olive.
Paolo
(EvelynMcH)

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paolo snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

The ones being used in the current games are olive. In the ancient Olympic games, olive wreaths were originally used but in the rival Pythian Games in Delphi they used laurel wreaths to honor Apollo, who is symbolized by laurel. In the Isthmian Games a wreath of celery was used and in the Nemean Games it was a wreath of parsley. It was the Romans who more or less standardized wreaths of honor as being madw of laurel. But in the modern Olympic game it's olive. 2,563 olive wreaths and bouquets for the Olympics and 2,960 for the Paralympics are being donated by Interflora.
Lorenzo L. Love http://home.thegrid.net/~lllove
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.     Cicero
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On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 15:30:13 UTC, paolo snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com opined:

If you are saying that the wreaths I have been seeing on the TV are Laurel, you are mistaken. They don't look anything like laurel.
I accept that they are made of olive branches, largely because there was a segment on the evening news yesterday, showing a team of Greeks in Athens who are turning them out for the medal winners. In this segment, one could see that they were indeed olive, just as the sound track was saying. My earlier objection to that was that the color seemed wrong; I now attribute that to an artifact of color balance in the program transmission at some point.

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On 26 Aug 2004 08:30:13 -0700 in
paolo snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com graced the world with this thought:

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Nope. The wreaths being used in the current Olympics are made from olive leaves from a grove of trees that are supposed to be the oldest in Greece.
The Romans did the laurel thing, not the Greeks. -=>epm<=-
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I recently bought a small bay laurel. Now that I know "The death of a bay tree in a household garden was a portent of great evil for the home" I'd like to make sure I keep it healthy. Any suggestions?

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Stan Goodman wrote:

There's two villages in Greece with really old olive trees. Both insist that theirs is the older tree, the tree in the other village is merely a sapling, a few hundred years old. They've stopped feuding for the duration of the games, as the Olympic Committee decided to take branches from both trees for the most important laurels - marathon perhaps? I forget.
They're also using branches from a dozen or so olive trees planted some years ago for just that purpose. Interflora, possibly, dunno, they haven't talked about that in our newspapers.
... the feud included one village asking the other to cut their tree down and count the rings, they'd do the same, honest, would we lie to you? The other village declined. There's nothing like a fight that you can hand down to your grandkids' grandkids' grandkids, really.
Henriette
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Ummm... as far as I know only a few laurels are edible - bay laurel being one of them (or the part that we Brits would call Bay leaves is edible, though I seem to see it used to flavour the dish then to be taken out before eating), the rest being quite poisonous. So I am told. I certainly have been told to keep my dawgs from chewing the laurel hedge I have in my fenced off part of the garden, anyway.
Could anyone confirm or deny ?
Rachael
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On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 20:16:53 UTC, "Rachael of Nex, the Wiccan Rat"

I have been told that some laurels are toxic, but the only one I have seen here is L. Nobilis, which I have never heard accused of toxicity. It's very well represented in the wild fauna, and makes a good planting.
If you cook a soup or stew with the leaves in it, there would seem to be little point in removing the leaves when you are done cooking; pretty much anything soluble has diffused from the leaves into the soup/stew. On the other hand, the texture of the leaves doesn't invite eating, so there is also little to be gained by leaving them in.
I get laurel leaves fresh from the trees by my house. In recipes that call for one or two leaves, I regularly put five; I like the taste. I have been doing this for at least forty years with no detectable effect.
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On 26 Aug 2004 23:02:41 GMT in

People <have> been known to choke on them, so that seems like a pretty good reason to remove them.
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You certainly could choke on them, but there are worse things - the center stem of the leaves remains hard, and can stab through skin. You might swallow one unscathed, only to end up with internal damage. The best thing to do with them is either tie them into a bouquet with string or into a cheesecloth so that you can just remove them after cooking. If you are going to put them directly into a dish, you should break them in half, which exposes more of the leaf and lessens the chance of choking on one.
-=>epm<=-
In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same. - Albert Einstein
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On 27 Aug 2004 14:34:52 GMT in
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com.no.junk (EvelynMcH) graced the world with this thought:

I just count how many I put in, and make sure I pull that many out at the end. I see people crumble them once in a while, but I'm not real big on that one.
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snipped-for-privacy@badrats.co.uk writes:

========================= Bay laurel is used for cooking.
I can tell you, however, that some laurel is poisonous. Sadly, many years ago during an extreme snowstorm, the branches of our laurel hedge dropped down over the cage of our son's beloved rabbit which nibbled on the leaves. She died shortly thereafter. We had been told it was poisonous but it is so commonly used for hedges that I wondered though we thought the cage was far enough away that it couldn't affect the rabbit. We even positioned the cage so that leaves couldn't fall into the cage.
I have purchased bay leaves for cooking for years. Now I have my own two-foot high tree and enjoy the leaves often as well as including them in herb baskets given to friends.
Just my experience.
Glenna
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