The camphor tree is a dense broadleaved evergreen that is capable of growing 50-150 ft (15.2-45.7 m) tall and spreading twice that wide with a trunk up to 15 ft (4.6 m) in diameter, though the largest U.S. specimens are only half that size and those in the Caribbean are even smaller. The shiny foliage is made up of alternate 1-4 in (2.5-10.2 cm) oval leaves dangling from long petioles. Each leaf has three distinct yellowish veins. The outer margins of the leaves tend to be somewhat wavy and turn upward. The new foliage starts out a rusty burgundy color, but the leaves soon turn dark green on the upper sides and paler green underneath. New branches emerging from the shallowly fissured grayish brown trunk are smooth and green. Twigs are usually green, but may be tinged with red when young. The inconspicuous tiny cream colored flowers are borne in the spring on branching 3 in (7.6 cm) flower stalks. They are followed by large crops of fruit, comprised of round pea sized berries attached to the branchlets by cuplike little green cones. The berries first turn reddish, then ripen to black. Camphor tree can be readily identified by the distinctive odor of a crushed leaf.
Culture Camphor prefers fertile sandy soil. It will tolerate a pH anywhere in the range of 4.3 to 8. The roots are very sensitive to disturbance. They may extend far from the trunk of the tree, and can readily be identified by their characteristic odor. Light Camphor will grow in full sun or partial shade. Moisture Camphor tree does not do well in wet soils. Established trees are tolerant of drought. Hardiness USDA Zones 8 - 10. Hardened off camphor trees can survive freezes down to 10-15ºF (-12 - -9ºC), but new growth will suffer freeze burn when the temperature drops below 32ºF (0ºC) and branches will die back from temperatures in the low twenties. Propagation Camphor seed does not remain viable for long and should be planted in the greenhouse as soon as it ripens. Remove the fruit pulp first. At 68ºF (20ºC), germination will take 1-6 months. Cuttings of semiripe side shoots can be rooted in a warm humid place in midsummer. Pieces 2-3 in (5.1-7.6 cm) long with a heel work best.
Aventura Nursery and Landscape, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org 10079 County Line Rd. Spring Hill, FL 34608 18332 Ayers Rd. Brooksville, FL 34604 (352) 799-3200 (352) 799-3260