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Tree to 20 m, 0.4 m dbh. Bark dark greenish brown to yellow-grey with deep longitudinal fissures; peeling in thin strips. Branchlets angular, greyish green and glabrous. Leaves evergreen, alternate, 6–12 × 3–6 cm, leaves on fertile branches smaller, elliptic to ovate, leathery, upper surface dark green and glabrous, lower surface glaucous-green and glabrous, pinninerved with four to five pairs of lateral veins, margins entire, apex acute to acuminate; petiole 1.5–3 cm long, glabrous. Inflorescence axillary to subterminal, paniculate, 4.5–8 cm long. Flowers four to seven per cyme, 3 mm long, greenish yellow. Drupe black and globose, 0.6–0.8 cm diameter; cupule red and turbinate. Flowering March to May, fruiting April to October (China). Li et al. 2005. Distribution CAMBODIA; CHINA: Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan; INDIA; INDONESIA; LAOS; MALAYSIA; PAKISTAN; PHILIPPINES; THAILAND; VIETNAM. Habitat Evergreen broadleaved forest below 1500 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Conservation status Data Deficient. Cinnamomum parthenoxylon is still relatively common on a global scale, but in Vietnam it is critically endangered due to excessive exploitation of its roots for its volatile oils and camphor (IUCN 2007–2008). Illustration NT252.
Cinnamomum parthenoxylon has the unlikely distinction of being the only species in New Trees to have been found in a general internet search to be offered on eBay (as C. porrectum seeds, May 2007). As a selling point the vendor was claiming it to be the hardiest Cinnamomum, suitable for Zone 7a conditions. That it is reasonably hardy is supported by observations at Camellia Forest Nursery (Zone 7b), where it has not suffered any damage at –8 ºC (Camellia Forest Nursery 2007–2008). Seed is also offered by several major companies specialising in tree seed, but this has yet to turn into abundant plants, it would seem, as the species remains rare in cultivation.