Laurel is a species that formed authentic primitive forest vegetation of southern Europe, the laurisilvas, already missing by successive climate change; relic of those ecosystems some still remain hidden in some river valleys south of the province of Cádiz. It has always been in their home regions a beloved plant, for the aromatic, culinary and therapeutic virtues of its leaves: in al-Andalus it was used often to flavor wines and in preparing many dishes. With laurel and olive oil aromatic soaps were made.
In antiquity it was the sign of glory for excellence. There is a legend, narrated by the Latin poet Ovid, that relates this plant to the god Apollo, who, unable to enjoy the unrequited love of Daphne turned her into a laurel. Being dedicated to this god, who is as much as the Sun, the laurel has been since classical times associated with virtue and fame, literary or military, hence the laurel wreath was a top prize for both emperors to poets and artists.
During the Middle Ages college graduates were crowned with its leaves, a practice from which derives the term baccae-lauri, baccalaureate.
In the Renaissance, with the deliberate recovery of classical mythology that characterizes this cultural moment, laurel retook power as a symbol of victory and nobility referred to by its specific name: nobilis. Thus, Charles V, who celebrated his wedding in 1526 in the Real Alcázar, is portrayed with laurel wreaths on the reliefs of the upper gallery of the Patio of the maidens, like a new Caesar.