San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Field Guide
Laurel Sumac (Malosma laurina) Malosma laurina
Laurel Sumac


The generic name is from Latin, referring to an odor reminescent of an apple. The specific epithet means "laurel like". Also called Lentisco (Spanish).


Laurel sumac is a large rounded evergreen shrub or small tree growing 10' to 15' tall. It is aromatic with reddish leaf veins, petioles and stems. The leaves are somewhat leathery and lance-shaped. The leaf blades are up to 4" long. The flowers are fairly dense. The sepals dry out and remain on the tree long after the flowers are gone. The flowers have green five-lobed sepals and five white petals. The fruit is a whitish drupe 1/8" in diameter with a smooth flattish stone.

Laurel Sumac (Malosma laurina)Range and Habitat

Laurel sumac is commonly found on dry ridges and canyons below 3000' in chaparral and coastal sage scrub, on cismontane slopes and inland to the desert edge.

Natural History

Laurel sumac is formerly known as Rhus laurina, and some older books refer to it by that name. It blooms from June to July.

Text by Connie Gatlin
Photo credit: Liz Paegel

Field Guide: Plants | Field Guide Feedback Form