15. Cinnamomum camphora (Linnaeus) J. Presl in Berchtold & J. Presl, Prir. Rostlin. 2(2): 36. 1825.
Laurus camphora Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 369. 1753; Camphora officinarum Nees; C. officinarum var. glaucescens A. Braun; Cinnamomum camphora var. glaucescens (A. Braun) Meisner; C. camphora var. nominale Hayata; C. camphoroides Hayata; C. nominale (Hayata) Hayata; C. simondii Lecomte; C. taquetii H. Léveillé; Persea camphora (Linnaeus) Sprengel.
Evergreen large trees, up to 30 m tall, to 3 m d.b.h.; corona broadly ovate; whole plant strongly camphor-scented. Bark yellow-brown, irregularly and longitudinally fissured. Branchlets brownish, terete, glabrous. Terminal buds broadly ovoid; bud scales broadly ovate or suborbicular, sparsely sericeous outside. Leaves alternate; petiole slender, 2-3 cm, concave-convex, glabrous; leaf blade yellow-green or gray-green and glaucous abaxially, green or yellow-green and shiny adaxially, ovate-elliptic, 6-12 × 2.5-5.5 cm, subleathery, glabrous on both surfaces or sparsely puberulent abaxially only when young, triplinerved or sometimes inconspicuously 5-nerved, midrib conspicuous on both surfaces, lateral veins 1-5(-7) pairs, basal veins with a few additional veins outside, axils of lateral veins and veins conspicuously dome-shaped and always villous abaxially, conspicuously bullate adaxially, base broadly cuneate or subrounded, margin cartilaginous, entire or sometimes undulate, apex acute. Panicle axillary, 3.5-7 cm; peduncle 2.5-4.5 cm, peduncle and rachis glabrous or gray- to yellow-brown puberulent especially on node. Pedicels 1-2 mm, glabrous. Flowers green-white or yellowish, ca. 3 mm. Perianth glabrous or puberulent outside, densely pubescent inside; perianth tube obconical, ca. 1 mm; perianth lobes elliptic, ca. 2 mm. Fertile stamens 9, ca. 2 mm; filaments pubescent. Ovary ovoid, ca. 1 mm, glabrous; style ca. 1 mm. Fruit purple-black, ovoid or subglobose, 6-8 mm in diam.; perianth cup in fruit cupuliform, ca. 5 mm, longitudinally sulcate, base ca. 1 mm wide, apex truncate and up to 4 mm wide. Fl. Apr-May, fr. Aug-Nov.
Cultivated in valleys and on mountain slopes. S of Chang Jiang river on mainland, Taiwan [Japan, Korea, Vietnam; introduced or cultivated in many countries around the world].
This species is the main source of camphor, which is derived from chipped wood of the stems and roots and also from branchlets and leaves by steam distillation. It contains a fixed volatile oil. The plant is used medicinally as a stimulant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, and rubefacient. It also is used in the manufacture of celluloid. The wood is beautifully grained, light brownish, easily polished, and used for furniture, cabinets, and interior finish in buildings.