A Mediterranean plant, the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) provides aromatic cooking leaves, the staple of all bouquet garni, and also gives us the leaves of the classical laurel wreath, the symbol of success and victory–in reference to which we have the poet laureate.

To ‘look to one’s laurels’ means to buck up a bit if you want to achieve and earn the accolade; the admonition not to ‘rest on one’s laurels’ challenges us to avoid coasting and taking early success for granted.

All this is to say that over millennia, the laurel wreath usually in the traditional shape of two curved branches forming an open ring, or horseshoe shape, appears again and again in architecture, stone masonry, furniture, flooring and textile design.

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