Cinnamomum parthenoxylon (Jack) Meisn., Prodr. 15(1): 26 (1864)
Latin for 'virgin wood', referring to the wood having 'or thought to have' syphilis curing properties.
Camphora chinensis Nees
Camphora inuncta Nees
Camphora parthenoxylon (Jacq.) Nees
Camphora porrecta Voigt
Camphora pseudosassafras Miq.
Cinnamomum inunctum (Nees) Meisn.
Cinnamomum malaccense Meisn.
Cinnamomum neesianum Meisn.
Cinnamomum porrectum (Roxb.) Kosterm.
Cinnamomum pseudosassafras Meisn.
Laurus parthenoxylon Jack
Laurus porrecta Roxb.
Laurus pruinosa Reinw. ex Blume
Parthenoxylon porrectum (Roxb.) Blume
Persea pseudosassafras Zoll. & Moritzi
Phoebe latifolia Champ. ex Benth.
Sassafras loureiroi Kostel.
Sassafras parthenoxylon (Jack) Nees
Tetranthera camphoracea Wall. ex Meisn.
Mid-canopy tree up to 37 m tall and 92 cm dbh. Stipules absent. Leaves
alternate, simple, penni- to tripli-veined, glabrous. Flowers ca. 4 mm diameter,
white-yellow, placed in panicles. Fruits ca. 10 mm diameter, green-grey, fleshy
drupe placed on slightly swollen flower base.
Evergreen trees; trunk straight, 10-37 m tall, up to 92 cm d.b.h. Bark dark green-brown, gray-yellow on
upper part, longitudinally deeply fissured, peeling off in lamellae, 3-5 mm thick, reddish inside,
camphor-scented. Branchlets green-brown, robust, terete; young branchlets gray-green, angled, glabrous.
Buds ovoid; bud scales suborbicular, sericeous. Leaves alternate; petiole 1.5-3 cm, concave-convex,
glabrous; leaf blade greenish or glaucous green abaxially, dark green and shiny adaxially, usually
elliptic-ovate or narrowly elliptic-ovate, 6-12 x 3-6 cm, those on fertile branchlets smaller, leathery,
glabrous on both surfaces, pinninerved, lateral veins 4 or 5 pairs, lateral veins and midrib conspicuous
on both surfaces, axils of lateral veins inconspicuously dome-shaped abaxially and inconspicuously
bullate adaxially, transverse veins and veinlets reticulate, base cuneate or broadly cuneate, margin
entire, apex usually acute or shortly acuminate. Panicle axillary on upper part of branchlet or
subterminal, 4.5-8 cm; peduncle 3-5.5 cm, peduncle and rachis glabrous. Pedicels slender, up to 4 mm,
glabrous. Flowers green-yellow, small, ca. 3 mm. Perianth glabrous outside, pubescent inside; perianth
tube obconical, ca. 1 mm; perianth lobes narrowly elliptic, ca. 2 by 1.2 mm, punctate, obtuse. Fertile
stamens 9, ca. 1.5 mm (of 1st and 2nd whorls) or ca. 1.7 mm (of 3rd whorl); filaments pubescent, those
of 3rd whorl each with 2 shortly stalked subcordate glands, others glandless; anthers ovate or oblong,
ca. 0.7 mm, all 4-celled. Staminodes 3, triangular-cordate, including stalk less than 1 mm; stalk
pubescent. Ovary ovoid, ca. 1 mm, glabrous; style curved, ca. 1 mm; stigma discoid, inconspicuously
3-lobed. Fruit black, globose, 6-8 mm in diam.; perianth cup in fruit red, narrowly obconical, ca. 1 cm
or less, longitudinally striate, base ca. 1 mm wide. [from Flora of China]
In undisturbed to disturbed mixed dipterocarp and sub-montane forests up to
1700 m altitude. Usually on hillsides and ridges with sandy to clay soils, but
also on ultrabasic and limestone.
The wood is used for general construction. The bark is used in flavouring food, while Safrol, a scent
of soaps is extracted from the wood. In Indonesia the flowers symbolize love and connection between the
living and the dead. Traditionally, in the Kudus Regency on the island of Java, the flowers we scattered
on tombs by family members. The tree is of special concern, as it is being harvested at a high rate to
obtain safrole, a precursor to the pesticide synergist piperonyl butoxide, the flavorant and fragrance
piperonal, and the psychoactive drug MDMA. Much of this illicit harvesting is happening in the Cardamom
Mountains in Cambodia. The leaves are used as feed for the silkworm native to Hainan.
Pakistan, India, South China, Indo-China, Burma, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo,
Borneo: Emplara, Kepalik, Marwali, Medang, Medang marwali, Medang sasi, Parari, Rawali, Sudong.
Cambodia: mreah prew phnom.
English: Selasian wood, Saffrol Laurel, Martaban camphor wood.