- Agriculture, Forestry & Soils
- Field crops, grasses, plant fibers, spices, tree crops, herbs
- Camphor tree
Strausbaugh, Perry D. Formerly, Department of Botany, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Core, Earl L. Formerly, Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
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The plant Cinnamomum camphora, a member of the laurel family (Lauraceae), from which camphor is extracted. The camphor tree (see illustration) is a native of China, Japan, and Taiwan. The tree grows typically to a height of 12 m (39 ft), is dense-topped, and has shiny, dark, evergreen leaves. It is widely planted as an ornamental tree. The Janka hardness for the wood from the camphor tree is 930 lb-force (422 kg-force); its density is 39 lb/ft3 (625 kg/m3). All parts of the tree contain camphor (a terpene ketone). Camphor oil (an essential oil) is obtained by steam distillation of finely ground wood from the camphor tree. During the distillation process, the crude camphor crystallizes on the surface of the still. After the camphor is removed and refined, it is the commercial gum camphor, which is used in medicines, in perfumes, and in the manufacture of celluloid and nitrocellulose compounds. See also: Camphor; Essential oils; Laurales; Ornamental plants; Tree
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