This is the family of the true laurel, Laurus nobilis L., a Mediterranean native, used not only to create wreaths for victorious athletes in ancient times but also as the source of bay leaves used in cooking. Besides laurel and our native species, several other well-known aromatic plants are in the family, such as cinnamon and camphor, and the avocado also belongs here. Most laurels are not hardy in our climate. Both of our native species bloom in May before the leaves are mature, tend to be dioecious, and are spicy-aromatic when the bark is bruised.
1. Leaves all unlobed; flowers in nearly sessile small umbels, the pedicels barely as long as the perianth; fruit bright red, on slender inconspicuous pedicel; plant a much-branched shrub.
1. Leaves mostly (but not all) lobed; flowers in peduncled racemes, the pedicels longer than the perianth; fruit blue, on a conspicuous enlarged red pedicel; plant a tree.
All species found in Lauraceae
MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. April 25, 2017. http://michiganflora.net/family.aspx?id=Lauraceae.