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Plants | Plant Lexica

Recipes starting with L

  • Botanical: Larix europaea
  • Family: Pinaceae
  • Known as: Lärchtann, Lerbam, Lörbaum, Lorchbaum, Lertanne, Lörtanne, Schönholz
  • Old Use: manufacturing; medicinal
  • Aroma: balsamic, woody


The larch is a deciduous tree and loses its leaves in the autumn. The shoots are dimorphic, with growth divided into long shoots typically 10–50 centimetres long[citation needed] and bearing several buds, and short shoots only 1–2 mm long with only a single bud.

The leaves are needle-like, 2–5 centimetres long, slender (under 1 cm wide). They are borne singly, spirally arranged on the long shoots, and in dense clusters of 20–50 needles on the short shoots. The needles turn yellow and fall in the late autumn, leaving the trees leafless through the winter.

  • Botanical: Laurus nobilis
  • Family: Lauraceae
  • Known as: Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay, True Laurel, Grecian Laurel, Lorbeer
  • Old Use: culinary; ritual; medicinal
  • Aroma: balsamic, forest, spicy


The laurel can vary greatly in size and height, sometimes reaching 10–18 metres (33–59 ft) tall. Laurus is a genus of evergreen trees belonging to the Laurel family, Lauraceae. 

The smooth bark may be olive-green or of a reddish hue. The luxurious, evergreen leaves are alternate, with short stalks, lanceolate, 3 to 4 inches long, the margin smooth and wavy. They are thick, smooth, and of a shining, dark green colour. The flowers are small, yellow and unisexual, and grow in small clusters.

Laurel Cherry
  • Botanical: Prunus laurocerasus
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Known as: Laurel Cherry, Prunus laurocerasus, English laurel, Lorbeerkirsche,

Laurel Cherry

Prunus laurocerasus is an evergreen shrub or small to medium-sized tree, growing to 5 to 15 metres (16 to 49 ft) tall, rarely to 18 metres (59 ft), with a trunk up to 60cm broad. The leaves are dark green, leathery, shiny, (5–)10–25(–30)cm long and 4–10cm broad, with a finely serrated margin. The leaves can have the scent of almonds when crushed.

  • Botanical: Lavendula officinalis
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Known as: Lavendel, Lavandula angustifolia,
  • Old Use: medicinal; culinary


The genus includes annual or short-lived herbaceous perennial plants, and suffrutescent perennials, subshrubs or small shrubs.

Leaf shape is diverse across the genus. They are simple in some commonly cultivated species; in others they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, sometimes multiple pinnate and dissected. In most species the leaves are covered in fine hairs or indumentum, which normally contain the essential oils.

  • Botanical: Citrus limon
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Known as: Lemon, Citrus limon, Citrus Limonum Risso, Zitrone
  • Old Use: culinary; medicinal
  • Aroma: clean, citrus, fruity


Citrus limon is the leading acid citrus fruit, because of its very appealing color, odor and flavor. The true lemon tree reaches 10 to 20 feet in height and usually has sharp thorns on the twigs. Leaves are reddish when young, and become dark green above, light green below. Mildly fragrant flowers may be solitary, or there may be two or more. Buds are reddish. Opened flowers have 4 or 5 petals, white on upper surface, purplish beneath. Fruit is oval with a nipple-like protuberance and is light-yellow. It is aromatic, and dotted with oil glands.

Lesser Butterfly Orchid
  • Botanical: Platanthera bifolia
  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Known as: Zweiblättrige Waldhyazinthe, Weiß-Waldhyazinthe, Weiße Waldhyazinthe
  • Old Use: culinary, medical
  • Aroma: sharp, sweet

Lesser Butterfly Orchid

Lesser butterfly-orchids are not to be confused with the greater butterfly-orchid, which are about the same size. Lesser butterfly-orchids are distinguished by their two shining green basal leaves, especially of the hill form, which are shorter and broader and by the angle of the pollinia.The upper sepal and petals form a loose triangular hood above the pollinia, which lie parallel and close together, obscuring the opening into the spur, which is long and almost straight. There are usually around 25 white flowers tinged with yellow-green in a slim flower spike. The flowers are night-scented, but the chemical components of the scent are different from those of greater butterfly-orchid and attract different pollinators.

Lesser Galangal
  • Botanical: Alpinia officinarum
  • Family: Zingaberaceae or Scilaminae
  • Known as: Languas officinarum, Echter Galgant, Galgantwurzel, Kleiner Galgant, Galgant, Siam Galgant
  • Old Use: medical

Lesser Galangal

This herbaceous plant can grow up to ten feet in height, though three to five feet is more common. The leaves are lanceolate (long and thin), and the flowers are white with streaks of red, growing from a spike at the top. The plant's rhizomes, the part known as galangal, are thin and tough, and they are the principal reason the plant is cultivated. They have orange flesh with a brown coating, and have an aromatic odor and a pungent flavor. These are smaller than greater galangal.

Lettuce Bitter
  • Botanical: Lactuca virosa
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Known as: Bitter Lettuce, Lactuca virosa, Wild Lettuce, Bitter lettuce, Laitue vireuse, Opium Lettuce, Poisonous Lettuce, Rakutu-Karyumu-So, Gift-Lattich, Wilder Lattich, Stinklattich, Stinksalat

Lettuce Bitter

It is a biennial herb growing to a maximum height of 6 feet. The erect stem, springing from a brown tap-root, is smooth and pale green, sometimes spotted with purple. There are a few prickles on the lower part and short horizontal branches above. The numerous, large, radical leaves are from 6 to 18 inches long, entire, and obovate-oblong. The stem leaves are scanty, alternate, and small, clasping the stem with two small lobes.

Lily of the Valley
  • Botanical: Convallaria majalis
  • Family: Asparagaceae
  • Known as: Augenkraut, Chaldron, Faldron, Galleieli, Glasblümli, Herrenblümli, Maiblume, Maiblümchen, Maienlilie, Maizauken, Marienglöckchen, Marienriesli, Niesekraut, Schillerlilie, Schneetropfen, Springauf, Tallilie, Zaucken

Lily of the Valley

C. majalis is a herbaceous perennial plant that forms extensive colonies by spreading underground stems called rhizomes. New upright shoots are formed at the ends of stolons in summer, these upright dormant stems are often called pips. These grow in the spring into new leafy shoots that still remain connected to the other shoots under ground, often forming extensive colonies. The stems grow to 15–30 cm tall, with one or two leaves 10–25 cm long, flowering stems have two leaves and a raceme of 5–15 flowers on the stem apex.

  • Botanical: Tilia
  • Family: Malvaceae, Tiliaceae
  • Known as: Lime Tree, Bee Tree, tilia grandifolia, tilia cordata, Linden, Sommerlinde, Grossblättrige Linde, Winterlinde, Stein-Linde, Kleinblättrige Linde
  • Old Use: medicinal
  • Aroma: citrus, forest, warm


It is a large tree attaining a height of from 60 to 125 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 to 5 feet, with spreading branches. The somewhat leathery leaves are pointed at the apex, heart-shaped at the base, with sharply toothed margins and are borne on stems about 1 or 2 inches long. The flowers are produced in great abundance from May to June in drooping clusters composed of from 6 to 20 yellowish, very fragrant flowers.

  • Botanical: Glycyrrhiza glabra
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Known as: Licorice, Lakritze, Süßholz
  • Old Use: medical, culinary, industry
  • Aroma: sweet


It is a herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 7–15 cm (3–6 in) long, with 9–17 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8–1.2 cm (1/3 to 1/2 in) long, purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an oblong pod, 2–3 cm (1 in) long, containing several seeds. The roots are stoloniferous.

  • Botanical: Levisticum officinale
  • Family: Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
  • Known as: Liebstöckel, Maggikraut, Luststock, Nusskraut
  • Old Use: medical, industry, culinary


Lovage is an erect, herbaceous, perennial plant growing to 1.8–2.5 m tall, with a basal rosette of leaves and stems with further leaves, the flowers being produced in umbels at the top of the stems. The stems and leaves are shiny glabrous green to yellow-green and smell of lime when crushed. The larger basal leaves are up to 70 cm long, tripinnate, with broad triangular to rhomboidal, acutely pointed leaflets with a few marginal teeth; the stem leaves are smaller, and less divided with few leaflets. The flowers are yellow to greenish-yellow, 2–3 mm diameter, produced in globose umbels up to 10–15 cm diameter; flowering is in late spring. The fruit is a dry two-parted schizocarp 4–7 mm long, mature in autumn.

Love in a Mist
  • Botanical: Nigella damascena
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • Known as: Ragged Lady, Jungfer im Grünen
  • Old Use: medicinal, culinary
  • Aroma: spicy

Love in a Mist

Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist, ragged lady) is an annual garden flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae.

It grows to 20–50 cm (8–20 in) tall, with pinnately divided, thread-like, alternate leaves.

The flowers, blooming in early summer, are most commonly different shades of blue, but can be white, pink, or pale purple, with 5 to 25 sepals. The actual petals are located at the base of the stamens and are minute and clawed. The sepals are the only colored part of the perianth. The four to five carpels of the compound pistil have each an erect style.

The fruit is a large and inflated capsule, growing from a compound ovary, and is composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. This is rather exceptional for a member of the buttercup family. The capsule becomes brown in late summer. The plant self-seeds, growing on the same spot year after year.

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