Characteristics of Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum camphora) in the Wild

Cinnamomum camphora
Camphor is a plant native to southern China, starting from the Yangtze River, Taiwan, southern Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The tree has been introduced to many other countries outside Asia.

In Japan, this tree is called Kusunoki, one of five famous camphor trees with the largest trunk circumference, and earned the nickname Kamō no Ōkusu which means “the great camphor of Kamō”.

In Australia, camphor trees have become a dangerous weed throughout Queensland and become vigilant in northern New South Wales. Camphor trees grow quickly in rainforests and grasslands, and it also competes with trees from the genus Eucalyptus, which is the only food source of koalas.

Camphor trees are widely planted and cultivated for harvesting mothballs and wood. The production of camphor in solid and wax forms was the main industry in Taiwan before and during the Japanese colonial era (1895-1945).

Many ancient objects and buildings were found in mountainous areas where the original habitat of camphor trees grew. On average, old camphor trees have defects in the trunk, such as unusual peeled bark or carved scars. Sign, that camphor trees have been used since ancient times.

 

Characteristics of Camphor Leaf

Cinnamomum camphora Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Harry Rose

The leaves are shiny green and emit a smell of mothballs when crushed.

 

Characteristics of Camphor Flower

Cinnamomum camphora Flower
Source : flickr.com/hisusan2005

The flowers are yellowish-white and appear at the ends of the twigs in groups.

 

Characteristics of Camphor Fruit

Cinnamomum camphora Fruit
Source : flickr.com/sclereid0309

The champor fruit appears in the form of berries the size of the pepper. They are green when they are young and black when ripe.

 

Characteristics of Camphor Tree

Cinnamomum camphora Tree
Camphor trees can grow as high as 20-30 meters in the wild. The bark of the tree is brownish brown, rough, and cracked.

This tree is popularly known as Camphor. Camphor itself is a white crystalline substance obtained from the trunk of the tree. Camphor has been used for centuries as a culinary spice, incense, and traditional medicine. Camphor is also an insect repellent and lice-killing agent.

Camphor trees contain volatile chemical compounds in all parts of the tree. The wood and leaves can be distilled with steam to get essential oils. There are six different chemical substances called chemotypes (camphor), linalool, 1,8-cineole, nerolidol, safrole, and borneol.

 
BENEFITS OF CAMPER TREES

In China, essential oils from camphor trees are used to produce eucalyptus oil.

Camphor wood is used medically and is also an important ingredient in the production of smokeless gunpowder and celluloid.

Camphor wood is one of the most profitable government monopolies in Japan. That’s because the wood has high quality and is insect repellent.

 

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