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Umbellularia californica

Higher Taxonomy
Family: LauraceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: [Shrub], tree, [parasitic vine], generally evergreen, aromatic; [dioecious or +- so]. Leaf: generally alternate, simple, unlobed [(lobed)], entire, generally thick; stipules 0. Inflorescence: [(flowers 1, head), raceme, panicle], umbel-like, enclosed by bracts [or not]. Flower: generally bisexual, generally +- yellow to +- green; hypanthium often calyx-tube-like, perianth parts in 2(3) whorls of 3, +- sepal-like; stamens [(3)]9[(12)], in whorls of 3, inner often with 2 stalked orange glands at base, 1 [or more] whorls often staminodes [or not], anthers [2] 4-celled, opening by uplifting valves; pistil 1, simple, ovary generally superior, chamber 1, ovule 1, style 1, very short. Fruit: +- berry, often with swollen hypanthium, sepals.
Genera In Family: +- 54 genera, +- 3500 species: widespread in tropics, less so in temperate; some cultivated (Laurus, laurel, bay; Persea, avocado; Cinnamomum, cinnamon, camphor).
eFlora Treatment Author: Henk van der Werff
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: UmbellulariaView Description 


Etymology: (Latin: partial umbel, from inflorescence)
Umbellularia californica (Hook. & Arn.) Nutt.
Stem: < 45 m, bark +- green to red-brown. Leaf: 3--10 cm, 1.5--3 cm wide, narrowly ovate to oblong, shiny, generally deep yellow-green, minute-gland-dotted, abaxially glabrous, sparse-appressed-hairy, or minute-gray-tomentose, adaxially glabrous; petiole < blade. Inflorescence: in upper axils, umbel-like, peduncled, 5--10-flowered, subtending bracts <= 7 mm. Flower: perianth parts 6, 3--4.5 mm, oblong-ovate; stamens 9, staminodes 3, < glands, anthers 4-celled. Fruit: generally 1, 2--2.5 cm, round-ovoid, +- green, dark purple when dry, olive-like. Chromosomes: 2n=24.
Ecology: Common. Canyons, valleys, chaparral; Elevation: < 1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaRF, SNF, SNH, ScV (Sutter Buttes), deltaic SnJV, CCo, SnFrB, SCoRO, SCoRI, SCo, scattered TR, PR; Distribution Outside California: southern Oregon. Flowering Time: Nov--May Note: Used in cooking, woodworking.
Synonyms: Umbellularia californica var. fresnensis Eastw.
Unabridged Note: Known as Oregon myrtle in Oregon; used in cooking, woodworking. To some humans, oils TOXIC, aroma overwhelming.
Jepson eFlora Author: Henk van der Werff
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Jepson Video for Umbellularia californica

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Botanical illustration including Umbellularia californica

botanical illustration including Umbellularia californica

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Citation for this treatment: Henk van der Werff 2012, Umbellularia californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 23, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 23, 2024.

Umbellularia californica
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©2010 Thomas Stoughton
Umbellularia californica
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©2006 George W. Hartwell
Umbellularia californica
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©2009 Keir Morse
Umbellularia californica
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©2005 George W. Hartwell
Umbellularia californica
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©2022 California Academy of Sciences

More photos of Umbellularia californica
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Umbellularia californica:
NW, CaRF, SNF, SNH, ScV (Sutter Buttes), deltaic SnJV, CCo, SnFrB, SCoRO, SCoRI, SCo, scattered TR, PR
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).