This Asian native tree grows slowly to 5060 feet tall and wide. A heavy trunk and big, upright, spreading limbs give it powerful structure. Beautiful in rain, when trunk looks black. Aromatic, 212- to 5 inches-long leaves smell like camphor when crushed. New foliage in early spring is pink, red, or bronze; matures to shiny yellow green. Inconspicuous but fragrant yellow flowers bloom profusely in late spring, followed by small blackish fruits.
Though evergreen, camphor tree drops leaves quite heavily in early spring; flowers, fruits, and twigs drop later. Plant where litter will not be a problem. Competitive roots also make this tree a poor choice near garden beds and paved areas; roots may invade sewer and drainage lines as well.
Camphor tree is subject to verticillium wilt. Symptoms are wilting and dying of twigs, branches, center of tree, or entire tree; wood in twigs or branches shows brownish discoloration. Most susceptible after wet winters or if planted in poorly drained soil. No cure is known, though trees often outgrow the problem. To treat, cut out damaged branches. Apply nitrogen fertilizer and water it in well.