Tarchonanthus camphoratus

⦁ Wild camphor bush; Camphorwood; Hottentot tobacco (E)
⦁ Wilde kanferbos; Vaalbos; Kanferhout (A)
⦁ Mofathla (T)
⦁ Igqeba emlimhlophe (Z)


⦁ 733


⦁ Asteraceae


⦁ The Tarchonanthus camphoratus is a semi-deciduous tough shrub or small tree, that is fairly fast growing and reaching a height of up to 9M tall. It is drought resistant. This species can be grown in windy, cold, warm, and coastal areas with little difficulty, and can be found from the coast to 1600M above sea level. The branches arc upwards to form a V shaped canopy.


⦁ The leaves are spirally arranged, narrow and oblong, and are grey-green in colour. The veins are prominent below and the young leaves are velvety. There is a strong smell of camphor when the leaves are crushed.


⦁ The flowers are creamy white in colour and are thistle-like with small, long hairs. The male and female flowers appear on separate trees. The males have many flowers (10 – 25) which are bell shaped. The females have fewer flowers (3 – 5) and are rounder.


⦁ The bark is pale brown in colour when young, becoming darker when mature. The wood is a yellowish colour with a dark brown centre. It is heavy and hard. Splinters from the wood are known to be poisonous.


⦁ The fruit on the Tarchonanthus camphoratus can be seen as a nutlet, with small woolly-like white hairs. The heads look like balls of cotton wool. These appear between June and September.


⦁ The wood is hard and durable and used for ornamental work and for musical instruments, boat building and fence posts.
⦁ The green leaves are burned to assist with blocked sinuses and headaches.
⦁ The leaves are boiled in water and made into a drink to relieve coughing, bronchitis, abdominal pain and toothache.
⦁ Women use the leaves to perfume their hair.
⦁ The leaves are used for massaging.
⦁ The cottonwool like seed-heads are used to stuff cushions.


⦁ Tarchonanthus camphoratus attracts Kudu, Impala and Springbok, as well as Giraffe. But only the leaves, and only when they are unable to find other food or if during a drought. Honeybees love the flowers.