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Plant type



10 - 20 ft Tall
20 ft Wide



Growth rate







Cream, White

Flowering season

Winter, Spring

Common uses

Bank stabilization, Hedge

Laurel sumac (Malosma laurina) is a large, rounded evergreen shrub or small tree that grows to 20 feet tall and as wide. In bloom, it is intensely aromatic. The lance-shaped leaves have reddish veins and stems. Plumes of small white flowers bloom at the tips of twigs in late spring and early summer. They resemble lilac blossoms. After flowering the tree bears whitish single-seeded fruit. This shrub is named "laurel" because the foliage is reminiscent of bay laurel but it is not in that plant family. It is a key plant in coastal sage scrub and chaparral, and the berries are appreciated by songbirds, especially warblers.

Laurel sumac grows in full sun and is very drought adapted once established, but is not cold tolerant and is not found in areas where freezing temperatures are normal. It is adaptable to many types of soil but prefers well drained soil, either sandy or rocky.


Full Sun


Low, Very Low

Summer irrigation

Max 1x / month once established

Ease of care


Cold tolerance

Tolerates cold to 35° F

Soil drainage


Soil description

Typically prefers well drained soil, sandy or rocky.
Soil PH: 6.0 - 8.0


For propagating by seed: Hot water or oven heat of 200° to 240°F for 5 minutes. (Wright 1931).

Sunset Zones

14, 15, 16, 17*, 19, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Many companions including Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), Ceanothus spp., Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis), San Diego Viguiera (Bahiopsis laciniata), Barberry (Berberis spp.), Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides or C. minutiflorus), Bushrue (Cneoridium dumosum), Summer Holly (Comarostaphylis diversifolia), Tree Poppy (Dendromecon rigida), California Brittlebush (Encelia californica), Goldenbush (Ericameria spp.), Yerba Santa (Eridoctyon spp.p), Buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.), Flannelbush (Fremontodendron spp.), Silk Tassel Bush (Garrya spp.), Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia spp.), Bush Mallow (Malacothamnus spp.), Sticky Monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus), Hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia), Oaks (Quercus spp.), Lemonade Berry (Rhus integrifolia), Wild Currant (Ribes spp.), Sage (Salvia spp.), Woolly Bluecurls (Trichotema lanatum), Mission Manzanita (Xylococcus bicolor), and many others


Adenostoma fasciculatum

Coyote Bush

Baccharis pilularis

San Diego County Viguiera

Bahiopsis laciniata

Bush Rue

Cneoridium dumosum


Butterflies and moths supported

9 confirmed and 9 likely

Confirmed Likely

Acronicta othello

Western Avocado Leafroller Moth

Amorbia cuneana

Salt-and-Pepper Geometer|Cleft-Headed Looper

Biston betularia

Caloptilia ovatiella

Site type

Slopes, canyons, bluffs, marine terraces and other areas where coastal sage scrub or chaparral are found

Plant communities

Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub,