Myrtlewood tree (Umbellularia californica)

The Myrtlewood Tree is a very special broadleaf hardwood which is also an evergreen species.  This is not to be confused with the Pacfic Myrtle shrub which also grows along the coast. The Myrtlewood tree grows to heights of 60 to 120 feet, growing at a slow pace of 1” to 12” during each of its first few years of life.   At this pace, the myrtlewood tree may take from 80 to 120 years to reach its full size.T he range of myrtlewood tree, also known as the California-laurel, extends from Reedsport, Oregon to San Diego, California within 160 miles of the Pacific Ocean. 

Myrtlewood comes in a wide variety of colors and is well known for being one of the world’s most beautiful woods. The colors that make up the myrtlewood tree are often a result of the minerals in the soil where it grows. Making furniture, home decor, and other gifts out of the myrtlewood tree became popular in the early 1900s and has continued ever since. Woodworkers in Oregon love working with the wood because of the beauty and many types of finishes it provides. In addition to being appreciated by humans, myrtlewood provides food and cover for various animals. Its seeds are an important food source for squirrels, woodrats, mice, and birds. Deer brown young shoots during the summer.  When visiting the southern coast of Oregon be sure to stop in one of the the “Myrtlewood Factories” that sell Myrtlewood products. Some even give tours of wood working operations. You should also take the opportunity to experience walking through groves of Myrtlewood trees yourselve at  forest trails and roadside parks near the southern Oregon coast.

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