The California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica) is a marvelous, multi-talented tree. It can be large or small, fast growing (4 feet per year), or slow (4 inches per year). It can make a marvelous individual specimen, or can be closely planted in rows and trimmed into a formal hedge. As an individual, this tree may strike an imposing silhouette in the landscape at over 140 feet tall with a monumental trunk over 10 feet across, or it may become a charming and diminutive “kitchen tree,” living happily in a decorative container, scenting the patio with its spicy aroma and waiting to contribute the flavor of its piquant leaves to the next gourmet sauce or hearty stew.
Umbellularia californica is famous throughout its native range in California and Southern Oregon, where it goes by many names: Bay Laurel, Myrtlewood, Pepperwood, Bay Tree, Spice Tree, Pacific Myrtle, California Laurel, Cinnamon Bush, Peppernut tree, and several others. According to the USDA Forest Service, this tree species is “the most valued and best publicized hardwood species in the Western United States.” It’s an evergreen with leathery, spear-shaped, glossy green leaves, which are laden with aromatic oils.
In addition to its varied physical forms, culinary uses, great adaptability to diverse climates, soils, temperature, and light conditions, Bay Laurel is highly valued for the beauty of its wood. “Myrtlewood,” as it’s often called, features a rich, honey color, and is often turned into polished bowls, wall clocks, statuary, and other decorative items. In culinary use, Umbellularia californica has a stronger potency than the traditionally used European Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis), so less is required in most recipes calling for “bay leaves.” Native cultures used this wonderful tree extensively not only for its wood, but also for food, medicine, preservative, and as a pest repellent. The oldest reported Umbellularia californica is a 1,200 year old specimen in Northern California.
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Grow your own California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica), the most valued and best publicized hardwood species in the Western United States!
100% guaranteed: If your seedling perishes, we are happy to provide a replacement small-sized seedling for just the cost of shipping/handling ($4.60)
Seed-grown without poison or pesticides at our nursery on California’s Redwood Coast
Transplanting and care instructions included
Trees can provide a natural barrier against high winds, temperatures, noise pollution and soil erosion, all while benefiting local air quality, wildlife and property values — a Jonsteen seedling will only grow in value and beauty!