Camphor laurel
Lauraceae - Cinnamomum camphora

What does it look like?

Evergreen tree up to 30m high, with a dense and spreading canopy.  Leaves are alternate, 5-10cm long and 2.5-5cm wide, and glossy green.  Flowers are minute, white, borne on panicles near the ends of branches, hermaphroditic, distinctly odorous and attractive to small flies.  Flowers occur in spring with fruit maturing in autumn.  Fruit is a round drupe 8-10mm in diameter, green when immature ripening to black, containing a single seed 5mm in diameter.  Mature trees can produce up to 100 000 fruit per year.  It is easily identified by the pungent camphor odour arising from crushed leaves or exposed wood.


Why is it a problem?

Forms dense monocultures which suppress native regeneration.  Possible allelopathic effect, suppressing other plants.  Readily colonises exposed fertile soils.  Shade-tolerant and known to come up through and replace native forest vegetation in Australia.

Mature trees seed prolifically in Australia (up to 100 000 seeds per year).  Seeds are dispersed primarily by birds.  Seeds also transported by water, which does not reduce germination rates, and intentionally or unintentionally by humans.  Seed viability is 70% in the first year, declining rapidly so that few seeds remain viable by the third year.

Control Methods

Physical control

  • Cut tree down and cover stump with thick plastic for 6-12 months
  • Herbicide
  • Basal bark treat with Xtree basal (triclopyr and codecide)
  • Cut stump treat with pichloram gel (eg Vigilant) or 25% triclopyr: 75% water
  • Over spray with triclopyr (300g/l) (eg Grazon) at 17ml per 10l water