Camphorosma monspeliaca L.

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Bean

An evergreen shrub up to 2 ft high, of grey, heath-like aspect; young shoots erect, slender, pale, woolly, giving off a camphor-like odour when crushed. Leaves 1/6 to 13 in. long, linear, covered with down; the larger ones arranged alternately, the smaller ones produced very numerously in axillary clusters 18 to 13 in. apart that really represent undeveloped shoots. Flowers very small, inconspicuous, clustered in axillary tufts; there is no corolla, the flower consisting of a four-toothed calyx 110 in. long, four stamens with protruded yellow anthers and a style with two reddish stigmas. Seeds black, shining.

Widely spread in nature from N. Africa and S. Europe to Central Asia. I have seen it near Spalato (Split) in Dalmatia, facing the Adriatic, as a low dense bush with slender erect young shoots. A more familiar habitat is Montpellier, from which it gets its specific name. The generic name refers to the camphor-like odour characteristic of the genus. The older physicians attributed to this shrub many medicinal virtues. The young shoots produce their flowers from July onwards and die back most of their length during winter. It would make a useful plant for sunny slopes at the warmer seaside resorts.

Genus

Camphorosma

Other species in the genus