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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

LAURACEAE

LAUREL FAMILY

William J. Stone

Shrub, tree, generally evergreen, aromatic, rarely dioecious
Leaves generally alternate, simple; surface with small pits or depressions; stipules 0
Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, umbel, rarely flowers solitary
Flower bi- or unisexual, generally yellow or greenish; calyx deeply 4–6-lobed, segments in 2 series; petals 0; stamens in 3–4 whorls of 3 each, some sterile, anthers 4-celled, opening by uplifting valves; pistil 1, simple, ovary generally superior, chamber 1, ovule 1, style 1
Fruit: berry or drupe
Genera in family: ± 45 genera, ± 2200 species: widely distributed in tropical, less so in temp; some cultivated (Laurus , laurel, bay, Persea , avocado, Cinnamomum , cinnamon, camphor, ).

UMBELLULARIA

CALIFORNIA BAY, CALIFORNIA LAUREL, PEPPERWOOD


Species in genus: 1 sp
Etymology: (Latin: small umbrella from inflorescence)

Native

U. californica (Hook. & Arn.) Nutt.

Shrub, tree, evergreen, very aromatic
Stem < 45 m; bark greenish to reddish brown
Leaf 3–10 cm, 1.5–3 cm wide, oblong to oblong-lanceolate, shiny, smooth, deep yellow-green; petiole short
Inflorescence: umbel in upper axils, simple, peduncled; flowers 6–10
Flower bisexual, yellow-green; sepals 6, 6–8 mm, oblong-ovate; stamens 9, inner 3 with 2 stalked orange glands at base
Fruit: drupe, generally solitary, 2–2.5 cm, round-ovoid, greenish, dark purple when dried, resembling an olive
Ecology: Common. Canyons, valleys, chaparral
Elevation: < 1600 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range Foothills, Sierra Nevada Foothills, San Francisco Bay Area, Outer South Coast Ranges, scattered in Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges
Distribution outside California: s Oregon
Synonyms: var. fresnensis Eastw
Lf oils may produce TOXIC effects in some people. Known as Oregon myrtle in OR; used in cooking and by woodworkers
Horticultural information: 4, 5, 6, 14, 15, 16, 17, IRR: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

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