California-laurel is the only tree of the family Lauraceae found in the western United States. It is a broadleaved evergreen tree with distinctly aromatic “bay” leaves. Often referred to as myrtlewood, California-laurel is one of the best known and most valuable western hardwoods.
Is an evergreen tree in the Lauraceae family that is native to coastal forests of California at elevations from 0-5000 feet. It is found throughout the Klamath Range, Coast Ranges, Transverse Range and Sierra foothills and is especially numerous between Sonoma and Santa Cruz Countis. It is an attractive tree of variable size, from a 6 ft. shrub to 60 ft. in height, but most often in the 20 ft. to 45 ft. range. Ultimate size and speed of growth depend largely on local conditions. Its bark has a color range from maple blonde to walnut brown. It releases terpenes that kill off competing plants which can somewhat limit understory planting. Leaves are oblong, smooth-edged and have a peppery aroma, and are often used as a cooking spice. They sometimes turn a spectacular golden color during the autumn in northern California. Flowers are small, white, yellow or yellowish green, and open in late winter and early spring. The fruit is a round green berry lightly spotted with yellow and purple. It is one of the few garden trees that tolerates serpentine or clay soils.