California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Malosma laurina - Laurel Sumac (Rhus laurina)

Malosma laurina is almost always thrumming with activity. Between the birds, bees and small creatures eating the seeds there is almost always something utilizing this large shrub. Malosma laurina typically grows to 10-15 feet tall and wide. Because the Laurel Sumac lives in near frost free conditions citrus and avocado growers have used this as a marker for good locations for their crops. The summer flowers are great for attracting bees. The seeds attract vireos, including the endangered bells vireo, quail, thrushes, sparrows, goldfinches, bushtits and many others. Unfortunately the wood of Malosma laurina also burns incredibly well often prompting fire clearing requirements that the Laurel Sumac be removed if it is anywhere close to a structure. Malosma laurina is quite well adapted to fire and quickly sprouts back from the roots and bottom of the trunk. Historically the seeds were ground into flour and the bark of the roots used to make tea. Malosma laurina grows on a variety of soil types if there are summer dry conditions and winters warmer than 25° F.

High resolution photos of Malosma laurina are part of our garden image collection.

Malosma laurina, Laurel Sumac