20. Lindera communis Hemsley, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 26: 387. 1891.
香叶树 xiang ye shu
Beilschmiedia parvifolia Lecomte; Benzoin commune (Hemsley) Rehder; B. formosanum (Hayata) Kamikoti; Lindera bodinieri H. Léveillé; L. communis var. esquirolii (H. Léveillé) S. Y. Hu; L. formosana Hayata; L. glauca Blume var. nitidula Lecomte; L. paxiana H. Winkler; L. sterrophylla C. K. Allen; L. yunnanensis H. Léveillé; Litsea cavaleriei H. Léveillé; L. esquirolii H. Léveillé (1911), not (H. Léveillé) C. K. Allen (1936).
Evergreen shrubs or trees, (1-)3-4(-5) m tall, ca. 25 cm d.b.h. Bark brownish. One-year-old branchlets stout, glabrous, with irregular longitudinal splits; current year branchlets slender, green and brown when dry, striate, laxly or densely yellow-white pubescent, with many bud scale scars at base. Terminal bud ovate, ca. 5 mm. Leaves alternate; petiole 5-8 mm, yellow-brown pubescent or nearly glabrous; leaf blade gray-green or yellowish abaxially, green adaxially, lanceolate, ovate, or elliptic, (3-)4-9(-12.5) × (1-)1.5-3(-4.5) cm, thinly leathery or thickly leathery, yellow-brown pubescent, later laxly pubescent or glabrous abaxially, glabrous adaxially, pinninerved, lateral veins 5-7 pairs, curved, midrib convex abaxially, concave adaxially, base broadly cuneate or subrounded, margin involute, apex acuminate, acute, or sometimes nearly caudate-acuminate. Umbels solitary or 2, inserted in leaf axil; peduncles very short; involucral bracts 4, early deciduous. Male flowers yellow, ca. 4 mm in diam.; pedicels 2-2.5 mm, slightly golden pubescent; tepals 6, ovate, nearly equal in size, ca. 3 × 1.5 mm, laxly golden pubescent or nearly glabrous outside, apex rounded; stamens 9, 2.5-3 mm; filament slightly pubescent or glabrous, equal to length of anthers, 2-glandular at base in 3rd whorl; glands broadly reniform, cornute; pistil reduced; ovary ovate, ca. 1 mm, glabrous; style and stigma hebetate. Female flowers yellow or yellow-white; tepals 6, ovate, ca. 2 mm, pubescent outside; reduced stamens 9, fasciated, ca. 1.5 mm, 2-glandular at filament base in 3rd whorl; ovary elliptic, ca. 1.5 mm, glabrous; style ca. 2 mm; stigma peltate, papillate. Fruit ovate, ca. 1 cm × 7-8 mm, sometimes rather small and subglobose, glabrous, red at maturity; stipes 4-7 mm, yellow-brown pubescent. Fl. Mar-Apr, fr. Sep-Oct.
Dry sandy places, evergreen broad-leaved forests. Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam].
The morphological characters of an isotype of Lindera sterrophylla match those of L. communis, so the former name is here treated as a synonym of the latter.
The pericarp contains aromatic oil. The seed oil is used in food and for making soap and machine oil. The branchlets and leaves are used medicinally.