Cinnamomum camphora

Last updated

Cinnamomum camphora
Cinnamomum camphora20050314.jpg
An ancient camphor tree (estimated to be over 1,000 years old) in Japan
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Magnoliids
Order: Laurales
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Cinnamomum
Species:
C. camphora
Binomial name
Cinnamomum camphora

Cinnamomum camphora is a species of evergreen tree that is commonly known under the names camphor tree, camphorwood or camphor laurel. [1]

Contents

Description

Cinnamomum camphora is native to China south of the Yangtze River, Taiwan, southern Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, and has been introduced to many other countries. [2] It grows up to 20–30 m (66–98 ft) tall. [2] In Japan, where the tree is called kusunoki, five camphor trees are known with a trunk circumference above 20 m (66 ft), with the largest individual, Kamō no Ōkusu (蒲生の大楠, "Great camphor of Kamō"), reaching 24.22 m. [3]

The leaves have a glossy, waxy appearance and smell of camphor when crushed. In spring, it produces bright green foliage with masses of small white flowers. It produces clusters of black, berry-like fruit around 1 cm (0.39 in) in diameter. Its pale bark is very rough and fissured vertically.

Uses

Camphor grove in Hong Kong Camphor Grove Sha Tau Kok.jpg
Camphor grove in Hong Kong

C. camphora is cultivated for camphor and timber production. The production and shipment of camphor, in a solid, waxy form, was a major industry in Taiwan prior to and during the Japanese colonial era (1895–1945). It was used medicinally and was also an important ingredient in the production of smokeless gunpowder and celluloid. Primitive stills were set up in the mountainous areas in which the tree is usually found. The wood was chipped; these chips were steamed in a retort, allowing the camphor to crystallize on the inside of a crystallization box after the vapour had passed through a cooling chamber. It was then scraped off and packed out to government-run factories for processing and sale. Camphor was one of the most lucrative of several important government monopolies under the Japanese.

The wood has an insect-repellent quality. [4]

Camphor

Camphor is a white crystalline substance, obtained from the tree C. camphora. Camphor has been used for many centuries as a culinary spice, a component of incense, and as a medicine. It is also an insect repellent and a flea-killing substance.

Chemical constituents

The species contains volatile chemical compounds in all plant parts, and the wood and leaves are steam distilled for the essential oils. Camphor laurel has six different chemical variants called chemotypes, which are camphor, linalool, 1,8-cineole, nerolidol, safrole, and borneol. In China, field workers avoid mixing chemotypes when harvesting by their odour. [5] [6] The cineole fraction of camphor laurel is used in China to manufacture fake "eucalyptus oil". [7]

The chemical variants (or chemotypes) seem dependent upon the country of origin of the tree. e.g., C. camphora grown in Taiwan and Japan is normally very high in linalool, often between 80 and 85%. In India and Sri Lanka, the high camphor variety/chemotype remains dominant. C. camphora grown in Madagascar, though, is high in 1,8-cineole (averaging between 40 and 50%). The essential oil from the Madagascar trees is commercially known as ravintsara. [8]

Invasive species

In Australia

C. camphora in the public Botanic Gardens in Adelaide, South Australia Cinnamomum camphora - Botanic Gardens.jpg
C. camphora in the public Botanic Gardens in Adelaide, South Australia
Camphor laurel in fruit at Turramurra railway station, Australia Cinnamomum camphora Turramurra railway.jpg
Camphor laurel in fruit at Turramurra railway station, Australia

Camphor laurel was introduced to Australia in 1822 as an ornamental tree for use in gardens and public parks. It has become a noxious weed throughout Queensland and central to northern New South Wales, where it is suited to the wet, subtropical climate. However, the tree provides hollows quickly in younger trees, whereas natives can take hundreds of years to develop hollows. [9] The camphor content of the leaf litter helps prevent other plants from germinating successfully, helping to ensure the camphor's success against any potentially competing vegetation,[ citation needed ] and the seeds are attractive to birds and pass intact through the digestive system, ensuring rapid distribution. Camphor laurel invades rainforests and pastures, and also competes against eucalyptus trees, certain species of which are the sole food source of koalas.

In the United States

Introduced to the contiguous United States around 1875, C. camphora has become naturalized in portions of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, and South Carolina. [10] It has been declared a category I invasive species in Florida. [11]

Insect pests

In Australia, two native Lepidoptera insects, the purple brown-eye and common red-eye, larval stages feed on camphor despite it being an introduced plant. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Bay leaf Aromatic leaf

The bay leaf is an aromatic leaf commonly used in cooking. It can be used whole or in a dried or ground form.

Camphor waxy transparent aromatic organic compound

Camphor is a waxy, flammable, transparent solid with a strong aroma. It is a terpenoid with the chemical formula C10H16O. It is found in the wood of the camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora), a large evergreen tree found in East Asia, also of the unrelated kapur tree (Dryobalanops sp.), a tall timber tree from South East Asia. It also occurs in some other related trees in the laurel family, notably Ocotea usambarensis. Rosemary leaves (Rosmarinus officinalis) contain 0.05 to 0.5% camphor, while camphorweed (Heterotheca) contains some 5%. A major source of camphor in Asia is camphor basil (the parent of African blue basil). Camphor can also be synthetically produced from oil of turpentine.

Essential oil Hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile chemical compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetheroleum, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An essential oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. The term "essential" used here does not mean indispensable or usable by the human body, as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid, which are so called because they are nutritionally required by a given living organism.

Lavender oil

Lavender oil is an essential oil obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. There are over 400 types of lavender species worldwide with different scents and qualities. Two forms are distinguished, lavender flower oil, a colorless oil, insoluble in water, having a density of 0.885 g/mL; and lavender spike oil, a distillate from the herb Lavandula latifolia, having density 0.905 g/mL. Like all essential oils, it is not a pure compound; it is a complex mixture of phytochemicals, including linalool and linalyl acetate.

Kamō, Kagoshima

Kamō was a town located in Aira District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

Citronella oil

Citronella oil is an essential oil obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of Cymbopogon (lemongrass). The oil is used extensively as a source of perfumery chemicals such as citronellal, citronellol, and geraniol. These chemicals find extensive use in soap, candles and incense, perfumery, cosmetic, and flavouring industries throughout the world. Citronella oil is also a plant-based insect repellent and has been registered for this use in the United States since 1948. The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers oil of citronella as a biopesticide with a non-toxic mode of action.

Linalool

Linalool refers to two enantiomers of a naturally occurring terpene alcohol found in many flowers and spice plants. These have multiple commercial applications, the majority of which are based on its pleasant scent.

<i>Cinnamomum</i>

Cinnamomum is a genus of evergreen aromatic trees and shrubs belonging to the laurel family, Lauraceae. The species of Cinnamomum have aromatic oils in their leaves and bark. The genus contains over 300 species, distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of North America, Central America, South America, Asia, Oceania, and Australasia. The genus includes a great number of economically important trees.

Insect repellent Substance which repels insects

An insect repellent is a substance applied to skin, clothing, or other surfaces which discourages insects from landing or climbing on that surface. Insect repellents help prevent and control the outbreak of insect-borne diseases such as malaria, Lyme disease, dengue fever, bubonic plague, river blindness and West Nile fever. Pest animals commonly serving as vectors for disease include insects such as flea, fly, and mosquito; and the arachnid tick.

Rose oil

Rose oil is the essential oil extracted from the petals of various types of rose. Rose ottos are extracted through steam distillation, while rose absolutes are obtained through solvent extraction, the absolute being used more commonly in perfumery. Even with their high price and the advent of organic synthesis, rose oils are still perhaps the most widely used essential oil in perfumery.

Eucalyptol

Eucalyptol is a monoterpenoid. A colorless liquid, it is a bicyclic ether. Eucalyptol has a fresh mint-like smell and a spicy, cooling taste. It is insoluble in water, but miscible with organic solvents. Eucalyptol makes up 90% of eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptol forms crystalline adducts with hydrohalic acids, o-cresol, resorcinol, and phosphoric acid. Formation of these adducts is useful for purification.

<i>Backhousia citriodora</i> Species of tree

Backhousia citriodora is a flowering plant in the family Myrtaceae, genus Backhousia. It is endemic to subtropical rainforests of central and south-eastern Queensland, Australia, with a natural distribution from Mackay to Brisbane. Other common names are sweet verbena tree, sweet verbena myrtle,, and lemon scented backhousia.

Borneol

Borneol is a bicyclic organic compound and a terpene derivative. The hydroxyl group in this compound is placed in an endo position. Being chiral, borneol exists as two enantiomers. Both (+)-borneol and (−)-borneol (l-borneol) are found in nature.

Animal repellent

Animal repellents are any things or methods that keep certain animals away from certain objects, areas, people, plants, or other animals. To this end, living organisms emit special semiochemicals naturally; humans purposely make use of some of those and also design other repellents.

Eucalyptus oil is the generic name for distilled oil from the leaf of Eucalyptus, a genus of the plant family Myrtaceae native to Australia and cultivated worldwide. Eucalyptus oil has a history of wide application, as a pharmaceutical, antiseptic, repellent, flavouring, fragrance and industrial uses. The leaves of selected Eucalyptus species are steam distilled to extract eucalyptus oil.

Monoterpenes are a class of terpenes that consist of two isoprene units and have the molecular formula C10H16. Monoterpenes may be linear (acyclic) or contain rings (monocyclic and bicyclic). Modified terpenes, such as those containing oxygen functionality or missing a methyl group, are called monoterpenoids. Monoterpenes and monoterpenoids are diverse. They have relevance to the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, agricultural, and food industries.

<i>Melaleuca quinquenervia</i> Species of tree

Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as the broad-leaved paperbark, paper bark tea tree, punk tree or niaouli, is a small- to medium-sized tree of the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. It grows as a spreading tree up to 20 m (70 ft) tall, with its trunk covered by a white, beige and grey thick papery bark. The grey-green leaves are egg-shaped, and cream or white bottlebrush-like flowers appear from late spring to autumn. It was first formally described in 1797 by the Spanish naturalist Antonio José Cavanilles.

<i>Cinnamomum glanduliferum</i> Species of tree

Cinnamomum glanduliferum, common name false camphor tree or Nepal camphor tree, is a tree in the genus Cinnamomum of the family Lauraceae.

Achillea santolina, a perennial herb, is commonly found in arid environments of Iraq and Jordan, but may colonize colder and more humid climates of the northern hemisphere, such as Europe and Asia. It is a traditional plant used as an herbal remedy in many parts of Iraq and Jordan and has been used as an insecticide and repellent.

References

  1. Camphor - The Wood Database
  2. 1 2 Xi-wen Li; Jie Li; Henk van der Werff. "Cinnamomum camphora". Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  3. "Kamou no Ohkusu". Wondermondo. 2014-07-04.
  4. Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 449. ISBN   0-394-50760-6.
  5. Hirota, N. and Hiroi, M., 1967. ‘The later studies on the camphor tree, on the leaf oil of each practical form and its utilisation’, Perfumery and Essential Oil Record 58, 364-367.
  6. Lawrence, B. M., 1995. ‘Progress in essential oils’, Perfumer and Flavorist , 20, 29-41.
  7. Ashurst, P.R., Food Flavorings, 1999
  8. Behra, Burfield (May 2009). "Ravensara/Ravintsara Bibliography v1.01" (PDF). Compiled by CropWatch v1.01. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2011.
  9. Noxious weed declaration for NSW
  10. "Plants Profile: Cinnamomum camphora". Natural Resources Conservation Service. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  11. Forest Starr; Kim Starr; Lloyd Loope (January 2003). "Cinnamomum camphora" (PDF). United States Geological Survey: Biological Resources Division. Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  12. Wells, A., Edwards, E.D., Houston, W.W.K., Lepidoptera: Hesperioidea, Papilionoidea, Volume 31, CSIRO, 2001.