Virginia Tech Dendrology

California-laurel Lauraceae Umbellularia californica (Hook. & Arn.) Nutt. Listen to the Latin symbol: UMCA
Leaf: Alternate, simple, persistent, elliptical to lanceolate, 3 to 5 inches long, very aromatic when crushed, dark green and shiny above and paler and smooth below, margins entire. When crushed they may irritate the eyes and nose.
Flower: Perfect, inconspicuous, small and yellowish.
Fruit: A bluish black, olive-like drupe about 3/4 inch in diameter, attached to the tree with a yellow stalk that resembles a golfer's tee.
Twig: Round, slender, smooth, and initially light green, turning gray-brown with age.
Bark: Young bark is thin, smooth, and gray-brown; mature bark becomes thin, reddish brown, and somewhat scaly.
Form: A large, broad-leaved evergreen tree reaching 100 feet tall and 2 to 5 feet in diameter, often has multiple stems arising from basal sprouts. Has a dome-shaped crown in the open.
Looks like: golden chinkapin
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Umbellularia californica is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting California-laurel.
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson