Umbellularia californica

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Species Name: Umbellularia californica
Common Name: California Bay

Fragrant leaves used in cooking. Excellent tree for woodland/riparian landscapes, recommended as a large screen or hedge. Protect young plants from browsing deer. Found locally in Verdugo and San Gabriel Mtns.

Plant Family: Lauraceae
Plant Type: Tree
Height by Width: 75' H x 60' W
Growth Habit: Rounded, dense then uprigh
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Rate: Slow to establish, then fast
Sun Exposure: Full sun to shade
Soil Preference: Adaptable
Water Requirements: Drought-tolerant to moderate
Cold Hardy to: 15 degrees F
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color: Yellow
Endangered?: Not Listed
Distribution: Northwest, Cascade Range Foothills, Sierra Nevada Foothills, San Francisco Bay, Outer South Coast Range; scattered in both Transverse and Peninular Ranges
Natural Habitat: Canyons, valleys, chapparal below 5000'

Songbird iconA.jpg Clay iconA.jpg Fragrant iconA.jpg Slope iconA.jpg

Care and Maintenance

  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: "A very handsome tree of compact growth with rich green lanceolate foliage. Makes a good shade tree or as a specimen on a lawn. Can also be grown in bush form and stands trimming well. Will stand ordinary garden treatment at the same time it will thrive with little water if necessary. Gallon cans, 60c; 5 gallon cans, $1.75."
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.