Bay leaves are the aromatic leaves of several species of the laurel family. They are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance, and may be used fresh or dried.
Mediterranean bay leaf: The leaf of the bay laurel or "true laurel", Laurus nobilis, is a culinary herb often used to flavor soups, stews, and braises and pâtés in Mediterranean Cuisine. California bay leaf: The leaf of the California bay tree also known as 'California laurel', 'Oregon myrtle', and 'pepperwood', is similar to the Mediterranean bay, but has a stronger flavor.
Indian bay leaf (Tej pat): The leaf of the Cinnamomum tejpata tree, similar in fragrance and taste to cinnamon bark, but milder. In appearance, it is similar to the other bay leaves, but is culinary quite different.
Indonesian bay leaf (Daun Salam): The dried leaf of the Eugenia polyantha Wight plant of the Myrtaceae family. There is no good substitute for this leaf in cooking. Daun Salam is Indonesian for Peace Leaf.