Tree

California Bay

  • Umbellularia californica
  • Lifeform: Tree
  • Fire Resistance: Poor
  • Native: Yes
California Bay
California Bay

California Bay, laurel, Oregon-myrtle, myrtlewood, Pacific-myrtle, spice-tree, pepperwood

Umbellularia californica is a large hardwood tree native to coastal forests of California and slightly extended into the state of Oregon. It is endemic to the California Floristic Province. It is the sole species in the genus Umbellularia.

The bay tree, like so many others, will develop differently depending upon the conditions in which it is growing. When found on drier hillsides, it is generally smaller, with yellower leaves and smaller nuts. In a canyon with its roots in plentiful water and rich soil, the leaves will be thinner and darker green and whole tree, nuts and leaves will generally be larger.

Because of its thin bark, the tree is easily top-killed by fire, but it sprouts rapidly. Dense clumps are often formed on cutover land, which may prevent the establishment of desired conifers.

Care & Maintenance:

Bay laurel is fire prone, and may contribute significantly to wildfires due to its high volatile oil content. It is recommended that all Bay laurel trees be removed within 30' of structures.

As a primary host for the Sudden Oak Death pathogen, remove any Bay laurel within 30' of any Live oak or Black oak.

Learn more about California Bay

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California Bay Umbellularia californica

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