We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:


Cinnamomum camphora - (L.)J.Presl.

Common Name Camphor, Camphortree
Family Lauraceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous in large quantities[4]. Large doses can cause respiratory failure in children[268]. See the report below on medicinal uses for more information.
Habitats Banks of streams in China[109], to elevations of 750 metres[268].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cinnamomum camphora Camphor, Camphortree

Cinnamomum camphora Camphor, Camphortree


Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.


Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Cinnamomum camphora is an evergreen Tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from March to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Diptera.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Camphora officinarum. Laurus camphora.


Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Young shoots and leaves - cooked[105, 177]. Some caution is suggested because there is a report that the plant is poisonous in large quantities. The old leaves are dried and used as a spice[105, 177].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Analgesic;  Anthelmintic;  Antianxiety;  Antiarrhythmic;  Antirheumatic;  Antispasmodic;  Aromatherapy;  Cardiotonic;  
Carminative;  Deodorant;  Diaphoretic;  Odontalgic;  Rubefacient;  Sedative;  Stimulant;  

Camphor has a long history of herbal use in the Orient with a wide range of uses. It has occasionally been used internally in the treatment of hysteria, but in modern day herbalism it is mainly used as the essential oil and internal use is not advised[254]. The wood and leaves are analgesic, antispasmodic, odontalgic, rubefacient, stimulant. An infusion is used as an inhalant in the treatment of colds and diseases of the lungs[46, 57, 176, 178, 238]. The plant is more commonly used in the form of the essential oil which can be obtained by distillation of the chipped branches, trunk and wood of the tree, or from the leaves and twigs. Wood 24 - 40 years old is normally used[268]. The essential oil is anthelmintic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, carminative, diaphoretic, sedative and tonic[4, 218, 238, 240]. It is used externally in liniments for treating joint and muscle pains, balms for chilblains, chapped lips, cold sores, skin diseases etc and as an inhalant for bronchial congestion[238]. Some caution is advised, excessive use causes vomiting, palpitations, convulsions and death[238]. It is possible that the oil can be absorbed through the skin, causing systemic poisoning[238]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Piercing'[210]. It is used in the treatment of digestive complaints and depression[238]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Cinnamomum camphora for Arrhythmia, Cough/bronchitis, Hypotension, Nervous heart complaints, Rheumatism.

Other Uses

Deodorant;  Essential;  Preservative;  Repellent;  Wood.

The essential oil 'camphor' is obtained from the leaves and twigs[1, 4, 46, 57, 61]. It is extracted commercially by passing a current of steam through the wood chips, 30 kilos of wood yielding 1 kilo of camphor[149]. Camphor is used medicinally, in perfumes, as an insecticide and also to make celluloid and as a wood preservative[171]. It can also be put in shoes to cure perspiring feet[178] (probably by acting as a deodorant rather than preventing perspiration[K]). The wood has been burnt as a fumigant during epidemics[245]. Wood - beautifully grained, light brownish, takes a good polish[266]. It is used for making furniture, cabinets, the interior finish of buildings etc[4, 46, 266].

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Crop shade;  Agroforestry Services: Windbreak;  Management: Coppice;  Minor Global Crop.

Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Aggressive surface roots possible, Street tree. Succeeds in most soils[57] but prefers a fertile sandy moisture-retentive well-drained soil in full sun or light part-day shade[200]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8. Camphor is grown commercially in China and Japan as a medicinal tree and also for its essential oil[46]. It is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain[11, 166], though it can survive occasional lows down to about -10°c when fully dormant[57]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. There are various large trees that are growing well in Cornwall[59]. A very slow growing tree[4]. The roots are very sensitive to disturbance[164]. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value[200]. Special Features: Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.


The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


Seed - the seed has a short viability and is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse[200]. Remove the fruit pulp since this can inhibit germination[200]. Germination can take 1 - 6 months at 20°c[164]. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible in a warm greenhouse[78]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection from the cold for at least their first two winters outdoors. Cuttings of semi-ripe side shoots, 7cm with a heel, June/July in a frame with bottom heat[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

commonly known as camphor tree, camphorwood or camphor laurel, Ai-kanfor, Camphor, Ho wood, Kapoor, Kapur, Karppuram, Karpur, Karpurammu, Kuqmiqsail, Mushkapur, Noknamu, Pohon kapur barus, Zhang, Zhangshu.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, China, Cuba, East Africa, East Timor, Europe, Fiji, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Laos, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, North America, Pacific, Pakistan, Sao Tome and Principe, SE Asia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, USA, Vietnam, Zimbabwe.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. A noxious weed throughout Queensland and central to northern New South Wales, Australia where it is suited to the wet, subtropical climate. It is invasive in Florida and Hawaii in the US.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Cinnamomum loureiroiSaigon Cinnamon43
Cinnamomum verumCinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon Tree43


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Cinnamomum camphora  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.