California bay (Umbellularia californica (Hook. & Arn.) Nutt.) is an important component of mixed evergreen woodlands of coastal and interior California. These ecosystems are predicted to be among the most threatened by increased aridity under climate change. They are also some of the most impacted ecosystems through increased urbanization and land conversion. California bay is one of the most northerly members of the family Lauraceae and is believed to be a relict of a warm-humid ecosystem that included other members of the Lauraceae during the mid-Miocene. It plays an important role as a source of food for wildlife and its loss would greatly affect biodiversity of a range of organismal groups in California.
Submitted by Richard Dodd, UCB