California laurel

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California Laurel


An aromatic evergreen tree, Umbellularia californica, native to the west coast of the United States. The California laurel tree produces a golden-brown, hard, strong, fine-grain wood used for veneer, cabinetry, and garden tool handles.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Umbellularia californica; California bay laurel; baytree; bay tree; myrtle; Oregon myrtle; pepperwood; laurier de Californie (Fr.); myrte de l’Orégon (Fr.)

California laurel Umbellularia californica

Physical and Chemical Properties

Large evergreen tree growing to 35 m often with multiple stems. Bark=thin reddish-brown and scaly Leaves=elliptical (7-10 cm) and aromatic when crushed. Fruit =spherical drupe (2 cm) attached with stem resembling a golfers tee. Density = 40 ppcf

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Virginia Tech Dendrology website at (accessed Oct. 8, 2005)
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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