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Camphor Tree Cinnamomum camphora

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
sin-uh-MOH-mum kamp-FOR-uh
Description

Camphor Tree is an large evergreen tree native to Japan and Taiwan.  It is tolerant of urban conditions and makes a good street tree though it has shown itself to be very weedy and out-competes native species especially in Florida.  It produces copious amounts of seeds and self-seeds easily. It is also spread by birds that feast on the berries.  

The tree is very easy to identify simply crushing the leaves or twigs will release the smell of camphor.    

Young bark and stems are bright green and tinged with red.  They mature to a much darker grey-brown, that when wet, appear almost black.  

The wood, leaves and twigs from this tree are utilized as a commercial source of camphor.  

This specimen is resistant to breakage, periodic pruning will ensure a strong structure.  Developing major branching will aid in its strength.  Along the central trunk, allow 18 to 30" between branches.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Resistant to most pests and diseases.  This plant is susceptible to laurel wilt, as well as scales and mites.  

Ensure that the soil does not remain wet, as it is susceptible to root rot.

The berries that follow flowering can be quite messy as they fall to the ground.  Placing the tree in a location where foot traffic is limited is suggested.  Surface roots can also be an issue when taking location into consideration.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Monum'
    Larger, richer foliage
'Monum'
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#weedy#fragrant leaves#street tree#disease resistant#fast growing#messy#fragrant stems#disturbed areas#evergreen tree#messy fruits#urban conditions tolerant#dry soils tolerant#salt spray intolerant#salt intolerant#wet soils intolerant#insect resistant#breakage resistant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Monum'
    Larger, richer foliage
'Monum'
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#weedy#fragrant leaves#street tree#disease resistant#fast growing#messy#fragrant stems#disturbed areas#evergreen tree#messy fruits#urban conditions tolerant#dry soils tolerant#salt spray intolerant#salt intolerant#wet soils intolerant#insect resistant#breakage resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cinnamomum
    Species:
    camphora
    Family:
    Lauraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    It is used for oils and timber in Asia.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    The berries that appear after flowering are enjoyed by wildlife.
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Fragrance
    Screening
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 50 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Green
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The dark blue to black, fleshy drupes are 1/2" in diameter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Green-white to pale yellow fragrant flowers on 3" long panicles.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The thin, shiny, dark green leaves entire margins, but they can be wavy. They are a glossy green on the upper side and a dull green on the underside.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Ridges
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    Scaly to furrowed with flat-topped ridges
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    New twigs are green turning red-brown. Buds are pointed 1/2" long.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Insect Pests
    Urban Conditions
    Problems:
    Messy