was the daughter of the river god Peneus. Apollo
chased down the maiden, desperate for her love, but she wanted nothing to do with him, and she ran from him endlessly. Soon, she grew weary in her running and that Apollo would ultimately catch her. Fearful, she called out to her father for help. As all gods of water posses the ability of transformation, Peneus transformed his daughter into a laurel tree
. Suddenly her legs took root, and her arms grew into long and slender branches.
Apollo reached the laurel tree, and, still enamored with Daphne, held the tree in a special place in his heart. He claimed the tree the as his special tree, and adorned himself with some of it's leaves. And that is why the laurel was, and still is, a symbol of the god Apollo.(find out more about Apollo...)
This is a beautiful rendition of the famous Baroque sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
, executed between 1622 and 1625 and currently housed in the Galleria Borghese