Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum camphora)

Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum camphora)

Native to China and Japan, a sure way to identify a camphor tree is to crush its leaves or peel a twig to let the natural oils out and release the distinctive smell of camphor. This is an evergreen tree with oval leaves that sit alternating on the stem. It's considered by many an excellent shade tree thanks to its large and dense canopy.

Twigs are initially green but change to a red-brown, but in spring it blooms with small, white flowers.

It Can Reach Maturity Fast

The Camphor tree can range from small to medium (25 - 40 feet), though some specimens can even reach over 50 feet and a 70-foot diameter. It has a rapid growth rate and can reach maturity in just a few years. It can live for a long time, and one specimen in Japan has an estimated age of around 1500 years.

It Requires Very Little Maintenance

The Camphor Tree is one of the most popular trees in Texas because it requires minimum maintenance and can thrive in the local soil. It requires sand, loam, clay, acidic to slightly alkaline soil, and near-constant exposure to sunlight. The Camphor Tree must be kept away from areas that have shade for the better part of the day.

The recommended spacing for the Camphor Tree is around 8-10 feet and should be placed 30 feet away from any buildings. Usually, the Camphor Tree does not require heavy irrigation, but regular watering is recommended to help the tree grow healthy.

It's a Great Insect-Repellent

Though it is a natural attractor of pollinators, the Camphor Tree is a natural mosquito-repellent, and can even detract fleas and other pests. It was widely cultivated for camphor and timber, especially in certain areas of Japan, and used to produce medicine, smokeless gunpowder, and even celluloid.

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Tree Family