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Tarchonanthus camphoratus

   (Family: Asteraceae)
Afrikaans: Wildekanferbos English: Camphor bush Sotho: Mofahlana Venda: Moologa Zulu: Igqeba emlimhlophe  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Tree No.: 733
Height: 2 - 9m
Spread: 2 - 4m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
pH: neutral
Flowering time EDIT
    x x x x x x x x x  
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower type
  Flower scent EDIT
  Strongly scented
  Flower info
  The creamy-white flowers of the Camphor bush are carried on terminal panicles. Male and female trees are separate.
Leaf margin
Bark / Stem type
  Leaf scent
  Leaf info EDIT
  Partially Evergreen
  The narrow oblong leaves are dull green to grey-green above and whitish felted with prominent veining underneath. The margin is entire to finely toothed. When crushed the leaves give off a strong camphor aroma.
Fruit type EDIT
  Seed info EDIT
  From March to November the attractive, strongly scented fruit appears as a small nutlet, covered in woolly white hairs, giving the appearance of tiny cottonwool balls. The small seeds are covered with creamy hairs.
Description EDIT
Tarchonanthus camphoratus is an attractive small tree with pleasing grey-green foliage.
Growing EDIT
It can withstand particularly tough conditions, making it suitable for even the most environmentally demanding situation.
It will do well in the windiest and driest areas as well as being completely unaffected by even the most severe frost.

Seed takes about 8 weeks to germinate but propagation from soft wood cuttings is highly successful.
Distribution EDIT
Tarchonanthus camphoratus is widespread in South Africa, growing on sandy soils in bushveld, grassland, forest and semi-desert.
History EDIT
The name Tarchonanthus is derived from the Greek word meaning funeral flower. This name is divided into two parts, 'Tarchos', which means funeral rites and 'Anthos' meaning flower. It is unclear why this name was given, but Jackson (1990) suggests it may have to do with the camphorous smell. The name camphoratus refers to the strong smell of camphor given off when the leaves are crushed.
In coastal gardens where conditions are always difficult, Tarchonanthus camphoratus can be used as an effective windbreak or can be trimmed into an attractive hedge.

This hardy, moderately fast growing tree is popularly used for stabilizing sand dunes as well as for areas where erosion is a problem.

As the Camphor bush has a strong root system it is very popular with Bonsai enthusiasts as some really interesting styles can be achieved.

Tarchonanthus camphorates has been used medicinally by indigenous peoples for generations and is still used extensively today. The smoke from burning green leaves is inhaled to relieve sinus and headaches while a tea made by boiling the leaves in water is used for coughs, bronchitis, toothache and abdominal pain. The leaves are also used for body massage and as a deodorant by the Masai while Zulu women use them to perfume their hair.

The grey-brown, close grained wood is hard and heavy and is used for musical instruments, fence posts, boat building and cabinet making.
Ecology EDIT
In it’s natural habitat, Tarchonanthus camphoratus is browsed by giraffe, kudu, impala and springbok.
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