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An evergreen tree of large size. Leaves alternate, oval or obovate, slender-pointed and tapered at the base; 3 to 6 in. long, 11⁄2 to 3 in. wide; glabrous and shining, fragrant when crushed, firm and leathery in texture; stalk 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long. Usually the veins are in three or four pairs, and sometimes the lowest pair are so strongly developed as to give the leaf a three-ribbed character. Flowers greenish white, 1⁄6 in. wide, produced in spring in axillary long-stalked panicles 2 to 3 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 2658.
A native of the southern part of Japan and of China and Formosa; introduced, according to Aiton, from Japan in 1727. It is only in the milder parts of the British Isles that the camphor tree can be grown in the open air. In 1920 it was 35 ft high in Lord Clinton’s collection at Bicton in Devon and at Penjerrick in Cornwall it reached 50 ft. But neither of these trees now exists (1966) and none of such size has been found in any other garden. But the closely allied C. glanduliferum (Wall.) Meissn. is represented at Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, by a specimen 27 ft high.
C. glanduliferum, mentioned at the end of the entry on page 614, was described by Wallich from a specimen collected in Nepal, whence it ranges eastward as far as central China. It might prove moderately hardy if reintroduced from near its altitudinal limit, which in Nepal is nearly 9,000 ft.