From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Camphor Tree
Cinnamomum camphora
Bay/Avocado family (Lauraceae)

Post-Cook introduction

Medium-sized to large introduced ornamental tree with dense rounded of three-veined shiny dark green leaves and distinctive odor of camphor in crushed foliage. To 80 ft (24 ) high and 3 ft (0.9 ) in trunk diameter. Bark gray, smoothish, becoming thick, rough, and furrowed. Inner bark is pinkish, spicy and bitter. Twigs slender, greenish, hairless. End buds enlarged, elliptical, pointed, 1⁄4 inch (6 ) long, brownish, composed of many rounded overlapping which form rings of scars on twigs upon shedding.

©2006 John R. Gwaltney, Southeastern Flora
Leaves or paired (), hairless, with slender leaf-stalks 1⁄2–1 1⁄4 inches (1.3–3 ) long. Blades elliptical, 2 1⁄2–4 inches (6–10 ) long and 1–2 1⁄4 inches (2.5–6 ) wide, long-pointed at and short-pointed or rounded at base, not on edges, slightly thickened and leathery, with three main veins including two long curved side veins from near base of and swollen in angles, pinkish and showy when young, shiny green above and dull light green beneath.

Flower clusters () on slender stalks at leaf bases, 1 1⁄2–3 inches (4–7.5 ) long, branched. Flowers, several, yellowish, small, 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long and broad, composed of six- nine and with rounded and short

() 3⁄8 inch (1 ) in diameter, green to black, with short greenish cuplike base and enlarged stalk, the thin flesh with spicy taste of camphor. Seed single, nearly 1⁄4 inch (6 ) in diameter, dark brown.

The wood is yellowish brown with darker streaks, lightweight ( gr. 0.45), soft, fine-textured, strongly scented, and takes a good polish. Elsewhere, it has served in cabinet work, especially chests, because the odor is an insect repellent. A few trees have been cut in Hawaii and worked into chests and closet lining. Camphor gum and oil, used in medicine and industry, are prepared by steam distillation of leaf clippings and wood from plantations.

Planted as an ornamental and shade tree in Hawaii; elsewhere as windbreaks and hedges. On Oahu, Kauai, Lanai, and Maui, a total of 3600 trees are recorded as having been planted in the Forest Reserves. In several wet forest areas, notably in Nuuanu Valley, dense thickets of this tree form an understory beneath Eucalyptus stands. It attains large size when grown as a plantation tree in the forest. There is a stand at about 1100 ft (335 ) elevation along Tantalus Drive, Oahu, that attests to this.

Grown in subtropical regions of the southern continental United States from Florida to southern Texas along the Gulf, and in California, it has escaped and is recorded as naturalized. Uncommon in Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.

Special areas
Foster, Tantalus

Height 83 ft (25.3 ), c.b.h. 22.7 ft (6.9 ), spread 100 ft (30.5 ). Ulupalakua, Maui (1968).

Native of tropical Asia from eastern China to Vietnam, Taiwan, and Japan, and widely planted in tropical and subtropical regions.

Other common names
Japanese camphor-tree; alcanfor (Spanish)

stamen -- the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower; The stamen consists of an anther supported by a filament.

cm -- A centimeter which is about 0.4 inches.

m -- A meter is about 10% larger than a yard.

Glands are plant structures that secrete liquids, salts or other substances. Glands often appear as hairs with a drop of liquid at the end.

style -- This is a long and thread-like structure that connects the stigma with the ovary. A flower may have a single style, or several of them.

scale -- A very small leaf around a dormant bud. Also other things that might remind one of fish scales on the surface of ferns, stems and the like.

midrib -- The central and most prominent vein of a leaf or leaf-like thing.

The apex is the tip or the furthest point from the attachment.

alternate -- leaves alternate along the main stem and are attached singly.

Like the teeth on a saw, leaves and other surfaces can have toothed edges.

A panicle is a much-branched inflorescence. The bottom flowers in a panicle open first.

A pistil is the female structure of many flowers. It contains one or more carpels. Each carpel contins an ovary, style and stigma. The stigma receives the pollen which grows thru the style to reach the ovary.

An evergreen tree retains a large portion of its green leaves all year.

In an opposite leaf arrangement the leaves come in pairs with one leaf on each side of a stem.

lobe -- Rounded parts of a leaf (or other organ). Lobes bulge out about 1/4 of the leaf diameter.

calyx -- the sepals of a flower, typically forming a whorl that encloses the petals and forms a protective layer around a flower in bud.

fruit -- any seed-bearing structure in flowering plants. It is formed from the ovary after flowering.

canopy -- The foliage of a tree; the crown. Also the upper layer of a forest.

mm -- millimeter. About 1/25th of an inch.

sp. -- The abbreviation for "species". The plural is "spp". When used it sometimes means that the exact species is unknown. For example, "Aster sp" would mean some species within the Aster genus but the writer may not know exactly which species.

The botanical term "berry" is different from common usage. Strawberries and raspberries are not berries. But a tomatoe is. A true berry is a fruit with the seeds immersed in the pulp.

An ovary is a part of the female reproductive organ of the flower. Above the ovary is the style and the stigma, which is where the pollen lands and germinates to grow down through the style to the ovary.