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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonUmbellularia californica
Family common name(s)laurel; laurels
Genus common name(s)umbellularia; California-laurel; California laurel; Californian bay; California bay; California pepperwood; Oregon myrtle; Oregon-myrtle
Species common name(s)California bay-laurel; California bay laurel; California baylaurel; California-laurel; California laurel; California laurel bay; California bay; California-bay; California bay-tree; California bay tree; Californian bay; California myrtlewood; California myrtle-wood; California myrtle wood; California olive; Californian olive; California pepperwood; California sassafras; Oregon bay-laurel; Oregon bay laurel; Oregon baylaurel; Oregon myrtle; Oregon-myrtle; Oregon myrtle wood; Oregon myrtlewood; Oregon pepperwood; Pacific laurel; Pacific myrtle; Pacific-myrtle; bay-spice wood
Common name(s) specific to synonym; taxon noted in bracketsFresno California bay-laurel [var. fresnensis]; Fresno California bay laurel [var. fresnensis]; Fresno California-laurel [var. fresnensis]; Fresno California laurel [var. fresnensis]; Fresno Californian bay [var. fresnensis]
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxabay is applied to multiple Lauraceae taxa; myrtle-wood, myrtle wood, myrtlewood, yellow myrtle, black myrtle, white myrtle, California myrtle, pepperwood, pepper bush, spice-wood, spice wood, mountain-laurel, mountain laurel are applied to taxa in multiple families; cajeput is more commonly applied to Melaleuca
NotesCalifornia, Californian, Oregon, Pacific is a proper name, so upper case preferable
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcvar. californica; var. fresnensis Eastw.
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