California bay laurel, California bay or Oregon myrtle. Aromatic, evergreen shrub or tree, growing to 75’ tall and over 100’ wide in the wild. Ascending branches with rounded crown up to 60’. In gardens it tends to grow more slowly, reaching 20-25’ tall and wide and is often multi-trunked. Thick oblong deep yellow-green leaves are glossy, 2-5” long with pointed tips, and are intensely aromatic when crushed, causing nausea and headaches in some people. Tiny yellowish flowers provide a yellow cast in spring and are followed by inedible, olive-like fruits that turn purple. Give full sun or partial shade. Grows best and fastest in deep, fertile, well-drained soil with regular water, but tolerates other conditions, including aridity. Has a very neat appearance, making a good screen, background plant, tall hedge, patio tree or street tree. Leaves may be used for seasoning in cooking. Exceedingly tolerant of shade throughout its life. Same family as the tree that furnished the “classical” victory wreath. Hardy to 10F. Western North America particularly Oregon to San Diego.