77. Umbellularia californica – Oregon Myrtle
Scientific Name: Umbellularia californica
Nativity: California and Oregon
This species is called the Oregon myrtle by Oregonians and the California bay laurel by Californians. Its leaves have a very distinct, strong scent that make them easily confused with the bay leaf used in cooking. However, the traditional bay leaf used in cooking actually belong to the Mediterranean sweet bay. The leaves of the Oregon myrtle may also be used as seasoning, but are much stronger and should be used in smaller quantities. The fruit of this tree has also been traditionally roasted and eaten. The flavor is described as “dark chocolate,” “burnt popcorn,” or “coffee” depending on how long it is roasted. Unroasted, however, the fruit are inedible.The Oregon myrtle and the tanoak are the only species that the pathogen causing sudden oak death can produce spores.
DBH: 1.6 inches