Umbellularia californica  (Hook. & Arn.) Nutt. Š California bay tree ;  California olive  - Lauraceae

The California bay tree, Umbellularia californica, is sacred to the Kashaya Pomo Indians of California.   Its leaves are rubbed on a hunterÕs body before hunting to ensure his success.  They are burned in a house to prevent bad luck and the smoke is waved over people as a blessing when they leave.14  The leaves, though much stronger than the European bay, Laurus nobilis, add flavor to soups and stews.

This evergreen tree with cherry-sized seeds nearly two inches (5 cm.) in diameter, grows in the canyons and valleys of the Sierra Madre.  Several California tribes ate the roasted or parched seeds.