Oregon State University
Alphabetical List of Tree Common Names Alphabetical List of Tree Scientific Names Identification Key Mystery Tree

home > California-laurel genus

California-laurel (Umbellularia)


  • Leaves are evergreen, simple, alternate, and elliptical in shape. They have a pungent odor, like eucalyptus, when crushed.
  • Olive-like fruit is often purple when mature.
  • Only grows in natives stands along the coast of California and southwestern Oregon, although grows elsewhere as an ornamental.
  • In Oregon, it's commonly called Oregon-myrtle and gives rise to myrtlewood.


California-laurel is truly unique.  There is only one species in the entire genus, so both the genus and species have the same name.  The world's only California-laurel grows along the coast of California and southwestern Oregon, where it is commonly called Oregon-myrtle, or myrtlewood.  The hyphens in the common names help us remember that this tree is neither a laurel nor a myrtle.


For more information on the alders native to the Pacific Northwest, go to the species page or see "Trees to Know in Oregon".

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