28 Evergreen trees in California

Evergreen trees in California are truly unique. They can be found at the coast, in the desert, and everywhere in between. Some of these trees have adapted to survive with little water, while others thrive on it. The most popular evergreens include Pine, Fir, Cedar and Redwood. Take a look at this blog post for more information about the most common evergreen trees in California.

California has a diverse climate, which is perfect for growing a variety of different evergreen trees. The state has everything from the temperate rain forests of the north to the drier deserts in the south. Evergreen trees can be found in all these regions, and more.

California has many different evergreens that grow well within its borders. California is home to around 30 million acres of forest, which makes up 30% of the forested land in the entire United States. The state also contains 20 national forests, 33 national monuments and other protected wilderness areas. These combined areas make California the second-largest state for federally protected land.

California’s forests are not just made up of evergreen trees. They also include a wide variety of hardwoods, such as Oak and Maple. California is also home to the world’s tallest tree, the Coast Redwood.

This article talks about the most common evergreen trees in California. For the most common trees in California, see: 22 Most Common Trees In California. Also check out beatiful flowering trees for the state: 27 Best Flowering Trees For California By Color.

1. Ficus Nitida/Indian Laurel (ficus microcarpa)

Ficus microcarpa
Forest and Kim Starr Ficus microcarpa

The ficus nitida, also known as the Indian laurel, is a species of tree that can reach heights of up to 50 feet. It has small oval leaves that are dark green in color and leathery. These trees produce tiny white flowers at certain times of the year.

2. Japanese Blueberry (elaeocarpus decipiens)

Elaeocarpus decipiens
KATHERINE WAGNER-REISS Elaeocarpus decipiens

The Japanese blueberry is a small evergreen tree that can reach heights of up to 20 feet. It has dark green leaves that are about 2 inches long. This tree produces small white flowers and black berries.

3. Southern Magnolia (magnolia grandiflora)

Southern Magnolia
B A Bowen Photography Southern Magnolia

The southern magnolia tree is a large evergreen that can reach heights of over 40 feet. It has dark green leaves that are 4-7 inches long and waxy in appearance. The flowers on the Southern magnolia are white and fragrant, and they grow to be 8-12 inches in diameter.

4. Olive (olea europaea)

Olea europaea
Miltos Gikas Olea europaea

The olive tree is a large evergreen that can reach heights of up to 30 feet. It has dark green leaves that are 3-5 inches long. Olives are best known for their fruit, which is used to make olive oil.

5. California Pepper (schinus molle)

Schinus molle California pepper tree
Forest and Kim Starr Schinus molle (California pepper tree)

The California pepper tree is an evergreen that can reach heights of up to 30 feet. Its branches are covered with thorns, and it has round blue fruits that turn red when they ripen. The California Pepper also produces small creamy flowers throughout the year.

6. California Juniper (juniperus californica)

California juniper
Nyenyec California juniper

The California juniper is an evergreen that can reach heights of up to 15 feet. It has blue berries and small scale-like leaves. California Junipers produce a cone-shaped fruit, which helps distinguish it from other California evergreens.

7. Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)

Calocedrus decurrens Incense Cedar
Wendy Cutler Calocedrus decurrens (Incense Cedar)

The incense cedar is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 100 feet. It has flat, dark green leaves that are 1-2 inches long. These trees produce small berry-like cones with seeds inside. The bark on the incense cedar is reddish-brown in color and flaky in appearance.

Related: 7 Cedar Tree Benefits

8. Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata)

Pinus radiata in BigSur
alvenjah Pinus radiata in BigSur

The Monterey pine is a medium-sized evergreen that can reach heights of up to 60 feet. It has long, narrow green needles and produces cones that are 2-4 inches long.

Related: 29 Different Types Of Pine Trees In California (Northern & Southern)

9. Screwbean Mesquite (prosopis pubescens)

Screwbean mesquite
Andrey Zharkikh Screwbean mesquite

The screwbean mesquite is an evergreen that can reach heights of up to 35 feet. It has gray bark, green leaves and yellow flowers. These trees produce bean pods with brown beans inside.

10. New Zealand Christmas Tree (metrosideros excelsa)

New Zealand Christmas Tree
Jim & Robin Kunze New Zealand Christmas Tree

The New Zealand Christmas tree is an evergreen that can reach heights of up to 100 feet. It has dark green leaves and produces small white flowers, pink berries and red seeds. This California evergreen also has a unique exfoliating bark that peels in long strips.

11. Santa Lucia Fir (abies bracteata)

Abies bracteata
yargeritaville Abies bracteata

The Santa Lucia fir is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 130 feet. It has long, dark green needles and produces cones that are 3-4 inches long. This tree is named after the Santa Lucia Mountains, which are located in California.

12. Sweet Shade (hymenosporum flavum)

Hymenosporum flavum.
K M Hymenosporum flavum.

The sweet shade is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 60 feet. It has dark green leaves and produces small white flowers that become sticky when they age. This California evergreen also produces small orange berries that turn blue as they ripen.

13. Tecate Cypress (cupressus forbesii)

Cupressus forbesii
JOE BLOWE Cupressus forbesii

The Tecate Cypress is an evergreen that can reach heights of up to 50 feet. It has green leaves and produces small brown cones. These California evergreens are resistant to diseases, which makes them a popular choice for landscaping.

Related: 5 Cypress Tree Benefits

14. Strawberry Tree (arbutus unedo)

Arbutus unedo
Axel Rohde Arbutus unedo

The strawberry tree is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 40 feet. It has reddish-brown bark and green leaves with pink flowers and orange berries. These California evergreens often live for over 100 years.

15. Deodar Cedar (cedrus deodara)

Deodar Cedar
Willamette Biology Deodar Cedar

The deodar cedar is an evergreen that can reach heights of up to 125 feet. It has scaly bark and long, green leaves that are 1-2 inches wide. California deodar cedars produce small cones with large seeds inside.

16. California laurel (umbellularia californica)

Umbellularia californica Californian Laurel
Leonora (Ellie) Enking Umbellularia californica (Californian Laurel)

The laurel is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 150 feet. It has flat green leaves and produces small berries. California laurels produce a dark brown wood that is regularly used in furniture, cabinets and musical instruments.

17. Cork Oak (quercus suber)

Quercus suber
Rocío Velo Gómez Quercus suber

The cork oak is an evergreen that can reach heights of up to 100 feet. It has rough bark and long, green leaves. California cork oaks produce acorns that are frequently eaten by wildlife. The bark of these trees can be removed and used to make cork products.

18. Sierra Redwood (sequoiadendron giganteum)

Sequoiadendron giganteum.
Jim, the Photographer Sequoiadendron giganteum.

The sierra redwood is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 250 feet. It has dark green leaves and produces small cones. California sierras produce wood that is typically used in the construction industry, such as for railroad ties and utility poles.

19. Hollyleaf Cherry (prunus ilicifolia)

Hollyleaf Cherry prunus ilicifolia
Bri Weldon Hollyleaf Cherry (prunus ilicifolia)

The hollyleaf cherry is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 30 feet. It has green leaves with spiny, serrated edges and produces small white flowers. California hollyleaf cherries produce shiny red berries.

20. Santa Cruz Island Ironwood (lyonothamnus floribundus)

Santa Cruz Island ironwood
John Rusk Santa Cruz Island ironwood

The Santa Cruz Island ironwood is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 30 feet. It has green leaves and white flowers. California Santa Cruz Island ironwoods produce small, black berries.

21. California Torreya (torreya californica)

Torreya californica
S. Rae Torreya californica

The Torreya is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 100 feet. It has dark green leaves and produces small cones. California torreys are endangered, and there are only about 2,500 of them left in the wild.

22. Mountain Hemlock (tsuga mertensiana)

Mountain Hemlock
Famartin Mountain Hemlock

The mountain hemlock is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 130 feet. It has dark green needles and small cones. California mountain hemlocks often grow in shady areas, such as under trees.

23. Engelmann Spruce (picea engelmannii)

Picea engelmannii
Frank Richards Picea engelmannii

The Engelmann spruce is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 90 feet. It has bluish-green needles and cones that are about 1 inch long. Engelmann spruces have been used as Christmas trees, making them one of California’s best-known evergreens.

24. Victorian Box/Mock Orange (pittosporum undulatum)

Pittosporum undulatum Victorian box
Forest and Kim Starr Pittosporum undulatum (Victorian box)

The Victorian box is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 25 feet. It has green leaves and produces small white flowers. California Victorian boxes produce orange-shaped berries that are eaten by wildlife. These California evergreens are also known as mock oranges.

25. Water Gum (tristania laurina)

Water Gum tree Tristaniopsis laurina
Wikipedia Water Gum tree (Tristaniopsis laurina)

The water gum is an evergreen tree that can reach heights of up to 30 feet. It has green leaves and produces small white flowers. California water gums produce black fruits that are eaten by wildlife. These California evergreens often grow in wet areas, such as near streams.

26. Sweet Bay (laurus nobilis)

Laurus nobilis
Wendy Cutler Laurus nobilis

The sweet bay is a evergreen that can reach heights of up to 50 feet. It has long, narrow green leaves and produces white flowers. California sweet bays produce a dark wood that is used in construction and furniture making.

27. Primrose Tree (lagunaria pattersonii)

Lagunaria patersonii
Leonora (Ellie) Enking Lagunaria patersonii

The California primrose tree is a California evergreen that can reach heights of up to 50 feet. It has green leaves and white flowers. Primrose trees produce large, brown pods that are eaten by wildlife. These California evergreens are also known as bullocks heart trees.

28. California/Coastal Redwood (sequoia sempervirens)

Sequoia sempervirens
Tim Sheerman-Chase Sequoia sempervirens

The California redwood is an evergreen that can reach heights of up to 300 feet. It has green leaves and small, round cones. California’s redwoods produce wood that is resistant to insects and rot, making it ideal for use in construction and furniture making. They have been used as Christmas trees since the mid-19th century. Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world.