Camphor Tree, Camphor Laurel
Cinnamomum camphora

Family: Lauraceae (law-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cinnamomum (sin-uh-MOH-mum) (Info)
Species: camphora (kam-FOR-uh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Trees

Height:

over 40 ft. (12 m)

Spacing:

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Fall

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Evergreen

Shiny/Glossy-Textured

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,

Anniston, Alabama

Atmore, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Dermott, Arkansas

Alameda, California

Anaheim, California

Bakersfield, California

Benicia, California

Berkeley, California

Fairfield, California

Garden Grove, California

Lompoc, California

Los Altos, California (2 reports)

Los Angeles, California

Penn Valley, California

Reseda, California

Sacramento, California (2 reports)

San Diego, California

Vacaville, California

Whittier, California

Wildomar, California

Alachua, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Cocoa, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Debary, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida (2 reports)

Fruitland Park, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hampton, Florida

Hawthorne, Florida

Holiday, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (4 reports)

Kissimmee, Florida

Lawtey, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Leesburg, Florida (2 reports)

Lutz, Florida (2 reports)

Maitland, Florida

Mims, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Nokomis, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Orlando, Florida (4 reports)

Oviedo, Florida (2 reports)

Palm Bay, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Rockledge, Florida (2 reports)

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Satellite Beach, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Seffner, Florida

Summerfield, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Venice, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Athens, Georgia

Brunswick, Georgia (2 reports)

Savannah, Georgia

Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2 reports)

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Slidell, Louisiana

Las Vegas, Nevada

Beaufort, South Carolina

Bluffton, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Lexington, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Lumberton, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

Spokane, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

14
positives
12
neutrals
15
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Apr 14, 2015, Hugh2015roots from Sacramento, CA wrote:

Before, I didn't know this Cinnamomum camphora tree at all, even when people are telling me that it has a medicinal value to it. I thought it was just a native California tree until I researched it, and learned it was originally from China and Japan. My family is Asian. I learn the medicinal value of it from other Asian people, so maybe they have used it. This tree grows everywhere in Sacramento, California. My sister wants to grow one in Georgia so I'll tell her that they have tons of them in Florida.

I learn from other Asian people that this tree is helpful in bringing back the health of stroke patients. What I meant by this is that you boil its' leaves, bark, maybe even roots and use the boiled water, when cooled, to bathe the stroke patient, and the patient should recov... read more

Negative

On Jul 25, 2013, alfu from Gainesville, FL wrote:

Horribly invasive. I am continually pulling up seedlings that are spread everywhere here by birds that eat its berries. The tree needs to be dug out by its roots to be removed. Parts of its dead brittle wood break off in high winds, but not if the stems are live. I doubt any hurricane will blow a tree over, however, because their root systems are awesome.

Neutral

On Feb 10, 2013, guygee from Satellite Beach, FL wrote:

This plant is listed as a Category I Invasive by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. The tree is said to be displacing many natural species in Southern forests, both by direct competition and due to its highly allelopathic oils, which are also said to be harmful to a variety of aquatic animal species. The roots are reported to be destructive and span long distances, with the occurance of sprouting even from small root segments. Even if you live in a city it is impossible to control the seed dispersion of a large specimen since the mechanism for dispersal is by birds that eagerly eat the mature fruits but pass the seeds intact. No matter how attractive you think the plant is it would seem the responsible thing to do is to destroy any large specimens you may have on your property.
... read more

Neutral

On Feb 8, 2013, Celtlady from Cedar Springs, MI wrote:

We just had a camphor tree cut down & the stump ground out at our place near Tampa, FL. The tree was about 20' tall, messy, and in poor condition. Constantly dropping leaves and twigs.
Is the bark ok to use as mulch in a small planting bed, or is it toxic or chemically damaging to other landscaping plants? If not ok to use 100%, how much is ok to add? Is it good as an insect repellent as a mulch additive?

Positive

On Jul 15, 2012, rolyacde from Orlando, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Although we've always loved camphor trees because of the aroma they put out and the bug repelling qualities they possess, and had 4 large ones in our yard before last year, we had them cut down about a year ago, due to them having too many branches that were hanging over our house and cars, which posed too much of a threat of falling limbs.

Due to our cats enjoying jumping up on the stumps that were left, we left a couple of the stumps for our cats to jump up on. And after a year now, we have our camphor back, only it is in the form of large, beautiful bushes, as the stumps we left there have turned into magnificent camphor bushes, which is a major attraction to butterflies when they come into our yard, as the camphor bushes are usually the first place they go.

... read more

Positive

On Jul 7, 2012, steadycam3 from Houston Heights, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have a couple very small specimens in a flower bed. I did not know what it was and cut it down several times. This year, I noticed many leaves folded over. Peering inside, a spicebush caterpillar looked back at me. That gave me a way to look up the plant to find its name. Turns out it is a member of the Laurel family which is a host plant for this butterfly. They used my spice bush as well but almost seem to prefer the camphor bush (mine is just a bush about 3 feet tall). I want to keep the bush and wonder if I could just prune it to keep it small. I love growing those butterflies.

Positive

On Jun 23, 2012, HL_Nursery777 from Dunnellon, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Now I am going to post my strong views up about this tree.

Now I understand this tree is on the USDA Cat. 1 Invasive list, and I understand this tree is Non- Native.
But it does not mean this tree is a "threat" because the "government said so". These trees are very tame compared to some of these natives out around... holy cow!
Oaks, Maples, and Cherry Laurel stomp out the camphor tree in numbers and overall space by 1000 each 1! So what it "suckers back non-stop" and "oh noo... There is a sapling in my rose bed!". But don't think I am some supporter of exotics or something, because I can tell you, I am no friend of kudzu or air potato. These two and some others are a BIG threat of native habitats. I hope they get bored one day and go back to the real home that... read more

Positive

On May 31, 2012, Ravendarkstar from Seffner, FL wrote:

When we moved in to htis house 2 years ago, we were thrilled to find that there was a 34" Circumfrence Grand Camphor tree in the back yard.
We love the tree! The smell, the shade the asthetic appeal alone is awesome.

Sadly we may have to have it removed. Almost 50% of the canopy has been attacked. There are boring beetles and carpenter ants attacking it. I am trying hard to find natural methods to rid the tree of these pests so that we can save the tree. We are thinking of removing the dead parts, as the tree is in distress, and is trying to save its self.
If any of you have ideas I'm open to help.
Thank you!!!

Negative

On Mar 22, 2012, Aegletes from Debary, FL wrote:

Attractive tree when mature, but very prolific in Florida. It has a brittle trunk and limbs that break easily in strong winds. Camphor trees are also said to be harmful to amphibians. I recently cut down more than 20 of these trees that were invading the wooded area of my property and I'm still fighting the seedlings and the sprouts that continually grow back from the stumps.

Positive

On Jun 12, 2011, pickyjulie from Leesburg, FL wrote:

Interesting to read the variable comments here -- I live in a duplex apartment [read: fairly limited space] in Central FL Z9, and have five very large camphor trees planted in the areas just directly around me - my only regret is that the trees are not CLOSER or IN my small yard to provide the perfect shade for this area to be able to keep anything alive without watering day and night ........ I mulch everything with their leaves [free, keep down the seedlings and other weeds, and are an absolute bug/pest-deterrant] ......... the Cherry Laurel comment I also found interesting, as in my yard THEY sucker everywhere with invasive roots and are almost impossible to control...... The camphors remain absolutely beautiful here year-round, have a serene, graceful branching profile, and I have ne... read more

Positive

On Mar 31, 2011, flchick52 from Lutz, FL wrote:

I am so surprised to hear all of the negative comments about this tree. I have one in my yard and it has the most beautiful character of limbs, along with the fact that the leaves stay green year round. The canopy is so amazing that I recently transplanted one that is about 3 feet tall (it was in my front yard) and planted it in my backyard. My neighbor behind me has a disgusting sun room that is slanted toward my property and during two months of winter, it reflects sun directly onto my house so bad that I cannot open my shades/drapes during that time. I am hoping this tree turns out as beautiful as my other one and I am also thinking about planting two more to block the reflection. Also, the sunroom top is disgusting to look at and she has said she is going to tear that room off but... read more

Neutral

On Mar 18, 2011, spaceman_spiff from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have a question about this tree. Some friends of mine are considering planting one in their front yard. (Zone 9b, west coast of Florida, USA). I've read the positives and negatives about it (and have printed them all out for them to read), but my question is: Are these trees monoecious or dioecious? In other words, are there male and female specimens of this tree?

I'm asking because my friends are wondering if ALL specimens of this tree produce the annoying berries, or is it only the female specimen (as with live oaks producing acorns). If so, they do not want this tree because it will drop berries all over their cars and driveway. (One side of the driveway already gets partially covered from their neighbors' camphor tree). But MY next-door neighbors also have a ca... read more

Positive

On Aug 27, 2010, CactusJake from Mims, FL wrote:

I am so glad someone planted a Camphor tree years before I bought my house. I LOVE it and so do my friends that have one. It is big and as shady as an oak without the spring "oak bloom", acorns and jillions of leaves to rake. The camphor tree is a gentle tree, always a beautiful lively spring green, and does not attract worms or spanish moss (which I am sick to death of pulling off the oak and other trees and shrubs). St. Augustine grass thrives under its shade. It has a beautiful shape and stays green year around when other trees are bear. The leaves are small and blow away a few at a time so that it never needs raking. Some seedlings sprout underneath but I just keep them mowed along with the lawn. I love its color so much that I also planted a hedge with them for a traffic barri... read more

Neutral

On Aug 16, 2010, carpediem1 from Oviedo, FL wrote:

WOW, I am shocked to hear such bad things! I just bought this tree over the weekend and planted it, in the middle of my back yard. I went to a local nursery and they raved about it, as my main purpose is a shade tree for the back yard. My main concern was that it would grow quickly and provide shade but nobody mentioned all of the negative things. Its only a couple feet tall and sounded great when I bought it, but now I am concerned. I dont have any other trees in the yard and am not particulary worried about it shedding in the back yard, I hope i made the right choice?

Positive

On Aug 4, 2010, MTVineman from Helena, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

I really don't like reading all the negativity about this beautiful tree. I find beauty in all growing things on this planet. I'm sorry it's such a problem for some of you who find it's invasive in your area, but please don't say that this tree should NEVER be sold, period. For someone like me, who lives in the high Rockies of Montana, this is great, kool exotic tree to grow outside in the summer months and bring in, in the cool months. It's obviously not going to be invasive here. I love my Camphor Tree and I love the scent. I would be really irritated if I was unable to purchase one because of someone's bad experience in California. Not surprising somehow though considering that's where the majority of the crappy comments come from. I understand fully, but don't try to make it impossible... read more

Neutral

On Apr 23, 2010, KKontheCoast from Brunswick, GA wrote:

Thank goodness for this forum. My neighbor has been trying to give me a camphor tree, a sapling, I presume. I was thinking about it because of the wonderful aroma but there is too much of a downside.

Positive

On Mar 13, 2010, purplesun from Krapets
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a very vigorous grower, even when confined to a large container, as mine is. It has tripled in size in just one season, was battered by a hail-storm and spent the winter in a cold corridor. It is shedding some leaves right now, so I guess it is preparing for even more vigorous growth. Sofia, Bulgaria, 2300 feet AMSL, Z 6b.

Negative

On Feb 9, 2010, Luckydog69 from Savannah, GA wrote:

Is there any way to stop this tree from producing it's berries? What a mess.....

Negative

On Oct 3, 2009, silicali01 from Pomona, CA wrote:

These trees were planted by the city long ago. My house is 97 years old. We can't knock down these trees. We will get fined. They do look beautiful but what a mess. They drop leaves, twigs, branches, seeds all year round. Killing our grass. Hard to find plants to grow underneath the tree. I have a wandering jew and violets that seem to be doing okay.

Positive

On Mar 13, 2009, village1diot from Vacaville, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is the most beautiful tree in the neighborhood. It's been growing for about 35 years and is the best shade tree ever.

Neutral

On Feb 18, 2009, janjer1 from Sacramento, CA wrote:

Have a large Camphor in our backyard. This past year - 1/2 of it died. Not sure why - maybe root rot? Really liked the shade - now not sure what to do. 1/2 of the tree is okay. Any idease would be nice. Thanks.

Neutral

On Nov 18, 2008, Islandherbs from Freeport
Bahamas wrote:

I ran across this site looking for seeds to plant a camphor tree. The root problems, I wasn't aware of and now I am working on the pro's & con's. I was surprised by the comments. The reasons I wanted this tree was for shade, but more importantly- Cooking, medincinal purposes(internal and external), bug repellant.
Camphor is readily absorbed through the skin and produces a feeling of cooling similar to that of menthol and acts as slight local anesthetic and antimicrobial substance. There are anti-itch gel and cooling gels with camphor as the active ingredient. Camphor is an active ingredient in vapor-steam products, such as Vicks VapoRub, and it is effective as a cough suppressant. It may also be administered orally in small quantities (50 mg) for minor heart symptoms and fatigue. ... read more

Neutral

On Apr 25, 2008, maroulaki from Fairfield, CA wrote:

I have several of these trees along my fence. They are moderate growers in California. They do drop leaves all year round and small sticks. They are messy. However I would rather have them than a tree that drops all their leaves at the same time. They do tend to be wasp collectors, so I check the trees often in the summer to make sure that there arn't any wasp nests in them. They are fragrant. Not my favorite scent from a tree but it's ok.

Negative

On Jul 23, 2007, tropicaldude from Orlando, FL wrote:

This undesirable tree should not be planted (at least NOT IN FLORIDA), sorry if you are a fan. It's a shame it's sold at places like LOWE'S because it's cheap and grows faster than grass. No, it's not "a native" either... They know clueless people will buy it not knowing this is an invasive, too large for the average yard, hard to remove tree. A good evergreen substitute, native tree that's better looking and cold hardy is the Cherry Laurel.

If it was up to me, unscrupulous establishments in Florida attempting to sell Camphor and Golden Raintree (Koelreuteria) which is another invasive WEED would be hit with a hefty fine. There are plenty of beautiful exotic tree species. Fully grown Camphor trees look like a bad fro' haircut, that alone should make 'em illegal.

... read more

Positive

On Jun 20, 2007, ebough from Los Altos, CA wrote:

Plants like people have good and bad points. Clearly this tree should not be planted along streets and sidewalks nor in small gardens. In California, it does not grow as fast as in Florida and is resistant to oak-root fungus, a major plus. For warmer climates it is an evergreen treen which is quite handsome year around. It is not nearly as messy as a Eucalyptus for example. In the right setting and the right climate, it is a beautiful tree year around and is extremely hardy.

Negative

On Jun 5, 2007, Crystals from Orlando, FL wrote:

Like others have said, this is a very agressive invasive tree. It is a very soft wood and provides good shade, but if i tried to pull up every sapling i'd be busy every day for about an hour or 2. i have three camphor trees in my yard. the saplings get into my beds and try and take over everything and the trees, being rather large, shed alot of leaves all year round [and seeds, too, obviously]. the only things good about them are
1. they provide good shade because they are such fast growers
2. the bend in the florida hurricane winds [but break, too, sometimes!]
3. every year huge flocks of birds come to eat the seeds and the birds are so numerous, it sounds like rain.

Neutral

On Apr 22, 2007, deekayn from Tweed Coast
Australia wrote:

Where I live in Australia it is classified as a noxtious weed.
The tree does have a use once cut down, the wood is used to create linen chests as the scent keeps away moths. This practice was started by pioneers and carried on today by industrious individuals who cut down the tree, season the wood and sell the chests at local markets. A very practical use for the tree.

Negative

On Mar 25, 2007, chrisw99 from Los Altos, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Big messy tree continually dropping sticks and leaves PLUS it has a mat of invasive fibrous roots. Only vigorous, drought tolerant plants survive beneath it--I have been successful with Helleborus argutifolius or helleborus corsicus and of course, ivy. I am now trying some eurphorbias. I have dug new beds in my garden 20 ft away from the trunk only to find the mesh of these roots invading the beds once they got regular water. The roots smell strongly of camphor so it is easy to id them.

Neutral

On Dec 19, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Camphor Tree, Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Neutral

On Nov 24, 2006, todster77 from Rockledge, FL wrote:

My near neighbor (zip 32926) has a large shady Camphor Tree along the Indian River of East Central Florida-Sharpes. It smells so good that I was shopping for one myself...until I read other comments on this page...and thank goodness I did as I do not want any part of furthering a "class 1 invasive" in Florida by growing one in my yard. I will visit my wonderful neighbor more often to enjoy this tree from time to time. My first experience on this site has gleaned valuable information!!! I will mention that this particular tree did very well on direct waterfront through four hurricanes over two years with no visible loss of branches.

Positive

On Jun 19, 2006, GardenWytch from Pensacola, FL wrote:

I love this tree. It was about 1 foot tall when I moved into my home. For 3 or 4 years, I pruned it for a bonsai appearance, then I let it go. Now, I have a wonderful shade tree. During hurricane Ivan, I barely lost any leaves and we were on the Eastern (worst) side of the eye. It wasn't until a year after Ivan that I noticed babies finally coming up all over. I've transplanted them all over to take place of the trees I lost in the hurricane and to bring shade to the house to keep it cooler. The leaves make a wonderful sound in the breeze and they never fall off during Winter. My favorite tree. Great shade with no raking.

Negative

On May 10, 2006, gooley from Hawthorne, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Officially I am in zone 8b, but these grow only under the canopy cover of big evergreen oaks, live and laurel oaks. I'm on an exposed site and maybe it's a cold microclimate. There are two big ones in nearby Hawthorne, at least: you can see them in the yard of a house off 69th (Lake) Avenue, and you can see that they have been damaged by freezes in the past. They aren't really hardy enough for here, but are still a bit of a pest: a little further south they are ubiquitous and unstoppable. The wood is pretty good as a furnture hardwood; owners of big old trees (and they get FAT trunks fairly young, with lots of lumber in them) here or anywhere where the tree is a pest really should have them cut down and sawn into nice, wide boards. Do woodworkers a favor and also kill a source of fres... read more

Negative

On Oct 23, 2005, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I didn't realize how invasive these trees were until I started thinning the woods on my property. I have found many many saplings and have quite a few larger ones too. They will all be eventually removed. Some people like the smell of the wood, but I personally think it stinks. The dried leaves contain oil and are very flammable.

Negative

On May 19, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

There is NO stopping this tree! I have cut down the larger ones that were in my yard when I bought my property three years ago. They still send up shoots from any portion of the remaining stump or roots. Nearby trees in neighbors' yards and trees growing in the wild send seeds into my yard. Every seed seems to sprout wheresoever it lands.

I had a profusely sprouting stump from a tree I cut down in the area where I wanted to build a pump house. I burned the camphor tree stump for several hours and hacked it with an axe after burning. I used masonite peg board in the floor of the pump house to allow some aeration under it (I designed the pump house to be raised on open cinder blocks so that my toads would have a good winter home -- gotta' help out your friends!). Yes... read more

Negative

On May 18, 2005, jnana from South Florida, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Camphor trees are big trees with dense canopies, they are very brittle and easily damaged during storms and hurricanes. They are listed as a Category I of most invasive plants by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. These trees should not be planted in Florida.

Negative

On May 30, 2004, WalterT from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

On top of all the negatives about this tree one must say that the fragrance of crushed leaves and cut wood is very pleasant. Here in San Diego it is green all year and sheds leaves, twigs and branches incessantly in great quantities. Very messy. I don't know why the city planted them along the streets!

Positive

On May 28, 2004, Jamespayne from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This tree can become the most beautiful tree, with out blooming a flower when planted correctly. All of the negative comments about his tree are true! It can grow into a tree that is massive and beautiful, but it needs thought before planting. In central Florida zone 9, this tree keeps it's leaves on year 'round, and being in a rural area most people have enough yard "space" to plant Camphor Trees. Planted at the end of a property line, or at the entrance of a long drive-way can become very attractive with a Camphor Tree, but they do need the room to grow. I have one in my yard that I prune to so that it does not grow over my home, and I have never heard of this type of Camphor to cause damage from broken limbs. The best part of this type of Camphor is the SHADE! For that reason I h... read more

Neutral

On Mar 31, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

The camphor aroma is good to repel insects and other pests. Thats mainly because camphor has carcinogenic elements, and may cause cancer in humans too after long exposures.

Negative

On Mar 31, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

The Camphor Tree is a Category I Exotic Pest Plant in Florida. It comes up everywhere. They are more easily disposed of when seedlings. Full grown trees are brittle and large branches can come crashing down. This is true of many fast growing trees. The ripe fruits stain sidewalks and driveways.

Negative

On Mar 30, 2004, angelam from melbourne
Australia wrote:

The tree is a designated weed species through much of Australia. We had one removed 5 years ago and are still getting suckers from roots which weren't removed at the time because of other structures in the soil. Suckering had not been a problem until then. They are very herbicide resistant and manual removal has been all that works. The leaves and wood do smell wonderful however.

Negative

On Mar 29, 2004, jetierney from Berkeley, CA wrote:

These trees appear abundantly in Berkeley and El Cerrito, California (Northern Region.) They send a lot of new shoots from the base of the tree each spring. They have created havoc by heaving the sidewalks from root growth and regular (every three years) sidewalks have to be repaired and the roots cut back. They are used as a shade tree on many residential streets. They shed many leaves in the spring and summer. They require frequent thinning and topping to stay out of the electrical wiring and to eliminate dead branches from the bowl of the tree.