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October 2012
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Indonesian Bay Leaf is a member of the Myrtaceae family.

Images of Indonesian bay leaf at

Indonesian Bay Leaf or Indonesian laurel (salam leaf) – the leaf of Syzygium polyanthum is not commonly found outside of Indonesia.

Overview of Indonesian Bay Leaf

• This herb is applied to meat and less often vegetables.
• Like Indian bay leaf, it is also inaccurately named.
• This plant is actually a member of the Myrtaceae family.
• The small leaves turn brown on drying.
• This is the used part in cooking.
• This is aromatic and slightly sour/astringent, but quite weak.
• According to Indonesian cookbooks, the leaves should develop more flavor after short frying.
• Main constituents: flavonoids, tannins and alkaloids.
• Main components: eugenol, methylchavicol and citral have been identified.
• The tree grows wild in the Western part of the South East Asian peninsular (Burma to Malaysia) and in Western Indonesia.
• Its culinary use is restricted to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Growing/Caring conditions for Indonesian 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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