Tuesday, October 14, 2008

California Native Plants ~ #23 In A Series

The California Bay Laurel grows along the west coast from southern Oregon to San Diego and inland to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This evergreen is known as myrtlewood in Oregon. Its leaves have a pungent smell, just like a bay leaf, only stronger. It is a slow grower and may take 80-120 years to reach its full size, which can be between 60 and 120 feet tall.

The wood is hard and fine and made into small bowls and other objects. Native Americans used the leaves medicinally and sometimes as an insecticide.

The photograph shows a fallen log from a bay laurel that is sending up numerous new shoots. Amazingly, the tree has the ability to regenerate itself from a fallen log.

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