There are about 2000 species of laurels in 55 genera (wikipedia). They include popular spices such as Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) and Cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmannii). Like these two spices, many of the plants in this family have aromatic leaves. Another laurel of economic value is the Avocado (Pursea ameriana) which is grown in both California and Florida.
Certain laurels, like the Camphor tree can also be quite invasive. I've experienced this when I lived in Hawaii and in northern New South Whales, Australia. In Australia, birds act as the vectors for the seeds and disperse this plant all over the forest. Its particularly pronounced along fence-lines where birds tend to defecate.
Laurels are recognized by a close examination of the anthers. They usually have 4 dehiscent anthers (meaning they split when mature). At the bottom of the stamen is an enlarged glandular appendage. Leaves are simple and alternate. The perianth is undifferentiated. Tepals: 6 or 3+3. The flowers are usually small and greenish.
Links to more information
List of current genera