Oreodaphene. California Bay Laurel.
Related entries: Umbellularia californica
Oreodaphene. Umbellularia californica (Hook et Arnott) Nutt. (Fam. Lauraceae.)—The California Bay Laurel is an evergreen tree of considerable size, rather abundant throughout the State. Its wood is much prized on account of the beauty of its grain and its immunity from the attacks of insects. The leaves yield about 4 per cent. of a neutral, straw-colored, limpid, volatile oil, which has a warm camphoraceous taste and a pungent aromatic odor, resembling somewhat that of a mixture of oils of nutmeg and cardamom. It is soluble in 1000 parts of water, and in alcohol and ether in all proportions. It is said, when inhaled, to cause dizziness and headache. Its chemical characters have been studied by John P. Heamy. (A. J. P., 1875, 105.) He finds it to consist of a pure hydrocarbon, sp. gr. 0.894, boiling at 175° C. (347° F.), and an oxygenated, pungent portion, which boils at 210° C. (410° F.). This he calls oreodaphnol. Oreodaphene was obtained by distilling oreodaphnol with glacial phosphoric acid. For the reactions, see Heamy's paper.