California laurel (Umbellularia californica)

The California Laurel (California laurelUmbellularia californica) is an evergreen endemic to California, and is the only species in the genus Umbellularia. It thrives in oak woodlands, which is unfortunate due to its hosting ability for Sudden Oak Disease (phytopthora ramorum). The leaves are thick and smooth-edged, and arcuately veined, with small, yellow flowers. When crushed, the leaves give off a strong aroma similar to bay leaves, except like many laurels it has thick, waxy leaves. It has also been called Oregon myrtle and myrtlewood. Due to logging and popularity for its hard wood features, available supplies are beginning to dwindle.

  • Leaves pinnate, thick, leathery, alternately arranged, with intact margins
  • Leaves 3-6ā€ long, 1ā€ wide, oblong with a lance at the end
  • Flowers are white or yellowed
  • Dark gray-red-brown bark; scaly
  • When crushed, leaves give off strong scent
  • Can grow up to 80 feet tall, can live at least 200 years