Umbellularia californica

California Laurel
California Laurel
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Plant Type




Overall Mature Size


Mature Height & Spread

30-40′ x 30-40′


Full, Partial Sun


Low water

Flower Color


Bloom Time


Special Features

Attracts Birds

Container Sizes

#5, #15, 24″ Box

Natural Growth Habit


Sunset Garden Zones

4-9, 14-24

Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone


Slow-growing shrubby evergreen tree with an upright growth habit developing multiple trunks to eventually reach 30-40’ tall and wide. In forests this tree has been known to get much larger with age some reaching 100’. Dense medium-green foliage comprised of aromatic lance shaped leaves that are highlighted with tiny yellow flowers that appear in winter giving the tree a yellow-green appearance. Following bloom are small shiny purple-tinged green fruit that resemble tiny avocados. This species with its dense-growing foliage is well suited as a shade tree large screen or even pruned into a large hedge.  The pungent leaves of this variety are sometime used as a substitute for Laurus nobilis in cooking. Prefers a well-drained soil and can survive periods of drought though looks best with moderate watering. Prefers a full to partial sun exposure.
Note: This species is the primary host for Phytophthora ramorum the fungus that causes Sudden Oak Death. Care should be taken not to plant this species near established oak trees as several oak species are vulnerable to being infected.

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