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September 2012
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Malabathrum, or Indian bay leaf also known as Malobathrum or Malabar leaf

Images of Malabathrum or Indian bay leaf at

Malabathrum, or Indian bay leaf also known as Malobathrum or Malabar leaf.
• In ancient Greece and Rome, the leaves were used to prepare a fragrant oil, called Oleum Malabathri.
• These leaves are particularly used in the Moghul cuisine of North India and Nepal and in Tsheringma herbal tea in Bhutan.
• It is called Biryani Aaku or Bagharakku in Telugu.
• Bay leaves are shorter and light to medium green in color.
• They are usually olive green in color.
• They may have some brownish spots.
• The bay leaf’s aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon.
• The bark is also sometimes used for cooking, although it is regarded as inferior to true cinnamon or cassia.
• They are most often used in rice dishes like biryani and as an ingredient in garam masala.
• Bay leaves can also be crushed or ground before cooking.

Growing/Caring conditions for Malabathrum or Indian bay leaf

• Purchase a small bay laurel tree.
• Growing bay leaf from a seed is difficult; it can take up to six months.
• Growing from a cutting is also very challenging.
• Plant your bay leaf tree outside if you live in zones 8 to 11.
• Keep your tree protected from strong winds.
• Offer it partial shade, if the weather is too hot.
• Bay leaf loves full sunlight.
• Offer outdoor plants extra protection from frost in the winter by wrapping the plant to protect it.
• Putting hay on the ground by the roots will also provide warmth.
• If your bay leaf is exposed to frost, chances are the leaves will turn brown.
• Trim the plant to six inches above the soil.
• It will sprout come spring.
• Keep the soil well drained.
• Fertilize your bay leaf about twice a year.
• Give it lots of good composted soil.
• Let the tree dry out between watering.
• Over watering will damage the plant.
• Prune your tree in spring to keep it under control.
• Bay trees are not picky about soil as long as it’s well-drained.
• It will tolerate a range of pH levels from 4.5 to 8.3.
• It prefers its soil on the sandy side.
• When transplanting a bay sapling, mix three parts of soil-based compost with one part sand.
• Do not allow the roots to stay wet for long periods or root rot may set in.
• Bay is somewhat drought tolerant.
• In early to mid spring, prune the tree back.

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