These laurels are hardy  

These laurels are hardy

Go back 15 million years and you"d find most of Southern Europe looking like this fantasy forest: thick, scrubby underbrush canopied by wizened laurel trees. An epoch or two of human agricultural advances cleared those ancient woods, but patches persist on a few temperate Atlantic islands—especially here on Madeira, a Portuguese-held island off northwest Africa.

© Val Thoermer/Alamy

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