Whittier Narrows


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  • California Bay Laurel


    California bay (Umbellularia californica) is an evergreen tree growing to 150 ft.  Bark is dark redish brown and leaves are shiny and leathery looking,  very aromatic.  Flowers are yellow green, growing in umbels.  Many native uses: from inhaling the scent of crushed leaves for headaches or to clear nasal pasages, to making teas for colds, sore throats, lung congestion, stomachache, clotting and more.  Externally as a wash for sores,  poison oak rash, lice, fleas, rheumatism.  Leaves and smoke used as insect repellent.  The nuts were used for food or for poultices on  sores.  It also has been found to be potentially damaging to the liver in high concentrations.