Camphor Laurel

Cinnamomum camphora

Family: Lauraceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , ,

Description

A fast growing large rough-barked tree with a large extensive root system.

It has light green glossy leaves with wavy margins and a yellow mid-rib.

Masses of small white insignificant flowers appear in spring.

Fruits mature in autumn. They are small green berries which turn black on ripening in April–May. Over 100,000 fruits can be produced on a mature tree.

The plant has a distinctive camphor smell and distinctive venation.

Dispersal

Spread by birds. Seeds germinate more readily after ingestion by birds. Camphor Laurel will sucker from larger trees.

Impact on bushland

The plant creates large dense stands that smother out other vegetation with heavy shade. It has a very dense, shallow root system which, when accompanied by the shading provided by the canopy, suppresses the regeneration of native seedlings.

Camphor laurel can destabilise stream banks due to undercutting by the shallow root system and the general lack of ground cover species around the trees to hold the soil in place.

Distribution

. Lower Mountains to Springwood and along the Nepean River.

Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Water Gum (Tristaniopsis laurina)
  • Lillypilly (Acmena smithii)
  • Cedar Wattle (Acacia elata)
  • Buckinghamia (Buckinghamia celsissima)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

Mature camphor laurel trees are large and therefore difficult and expensive to remove. The most effective control is to stop seedlings from maturing.

Treat immature and juvenile plants to take replacements out of the system.

  • Scrape and paint larger seedlings. Masses of seedlings are produced in response to stem injection. If hand pulling seedlings be aware that they have a kink in the root which breaks off easily. It is important to get the entire plant.
  • Stem inject large trees.

For key points on these techniques: