The bay leaf is an aromatic leaf commonly used in cooking. It can be used whole, or as dried and ground.
If eaten whole, bay leaves (Laurus nobilis) are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste. As with many spices and flavourings, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable than its taste. When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral, and somewhat similar to oregano and thyme. Myrcene, which is a component of many essential oils used in perfumery, can be extracted from the bay leaf. They also contain eugenol.