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IBSC | Family List | Angiospermae | Lauraceae | Cinnamomum

Cinnamomum camphora (Linn.) Presl.

Description from Flora of China

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.

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.

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].


 

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