Synonym(s): Camphora camphora, Laurus camphora
Family: Lauraceae (Laurel Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Tree
The camphor tree is a broadleaved evergreen growing to heights of 15 - 30 m achieving a canopy that is twice as wide as its height. According to FFI (2003), the leaves of C. camphora are 5-8 cm long, 1.5-5 cm wide, oval-shaped, and taper into an acute apex. Leaf bases are wedge-shaped or rounded and the leaf surfaces are bright green and lustrous above, duller and slightly greyish-green below. The fruit of C. camphora is a black drupe, about 2 cm in diameter, held by a leathery floral, funnel-like tube that occurs in clusters at the end of a stalk.The leaves of the camphor tree give off a strong odour when crushed making it easy to identify.
Ecological Threat: Murray and Ramey (2003) note that C. camphora grows like a weed, infesting forests and displacing native trees. According to LCD (2000), C. camphora fruits, leaves, and roots are toxic to humans in large doses. They contain chemicals that stimulate the central nervous system and may affect respiration or cause convulsions. In Chinese medicine, camphor is forbidden for pregnant women and those with a deficiency of vital energy or yin.
Biology & Spread: C. camphora seeds are easily spread by birds from cultivated yards to open forests, and it is also spread to new locations through plant nursery sales. C. camphora flowers are hermaphroditic. The fruit ripens in autumn and turns black when ripe. Seeds of C. camphora have poor germination due to a hard seed coat.
History: Cinnamomum camphora is native to Japan, China, Taiwan and northern Vietnam. C. camphora has become widely naturalized in Australia. In the United States, it grows along the Gulf Coast and in California. C. camphora seeds are easily spread by birds from cultivated yards to open forests, and it is also spread to new locations through plant nursery sales. C. camphora fruits, leaves, and roots are toxic to humans in large doses.
U.S. Habitat: LCD (2000) indicates that C. camphora prefers fertile, sandy soil. It will tolerate a pH anywhere in the range of 4.3 to 8, and will grow in full sun or partial shade. However, C. camphora does not do well in wet soils. Established trees are tolerant of drought. Occurs primarily in drier disturbed areas such as roadsides and fencerows, but has invaded natural areas such as mesic hammocks, upland pine woods, and scrubland.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: C. camphora is native to Japan, China, Taiwan and northern Vietnam.
U.S. Present: AL, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, NC, PR, SC, TX, VI
Distribution: C. camphora has become widely naturalized in Australia. In the United States, it grows along the Gulf Coast and in California.
List All Observations of Cinnamomum camphora reported by Citizen Scientists
Cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is a related species, but it has larger leaves. This species is very similar to C. camphora in overall size and may be used in similar landscaping situations.
Physical: According to Starr et al. (2003), small seedlings of C. camphora can be hand pulled or grubbed out. It is important that the roots are removed otherwise the tree could regrow.
Chemical: Foliar spray with herbicides on young C. camphora trees up to 3 m tall is also effective. Basal bark or cut stump herbicide treatments are effective for trees up to 6 m , or with a basal stem diameter up to 30 cm with no multi stems. For basal bark, spray from ground level up to a height of 30 cm or higher than where multi stems branch.
Miller, J.H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 pp the tree could regrow.
Daehler, C.C; Denslow, J.S; Ansari, S and Huang-Chi, K., 2004. A Risk-Assessment System for Screening Out Invasive Pest Plants from Hawaii and Other Pacific Islands. Conservation Biology Volume 18 Issue 2 Page 360. the tree could regrow.
DEH (Department of the Environment and Heritage) Australia., 2005. Threatened Species and Threatened Ecological Communities. Cinnamomum camphora, Camphor Laurel most toxic chemotypes. the tree could regrow.
PIER (Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk), 2002. Cinnamomum camphora. Available from: http://www.hear.org/pier/species/cinnamomum_camphora.htm [Accessed 5 February 2003]. the tree could regrow.
LCD. 2000.Cinnamomum camphora Floridata. Available from: http://www.floridata.com/ref/c/cinn_cam.cfm [Accessed 25 July 2003]. the tree could regrow.
Murray, A., Ramey, V. 2003.Camphor Tree. University of Florida, IFAS, Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. Available from: http://aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu/camphor.html [Accessed 26 July 2003]
Miller, J.H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 pp (USDA SRS).
Global Invasive Species Database (http://www.issg.org/database)
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