Cinnamomum petrophilum N.Chao, Fl. Sichuanica 1: 460 (1981)

Latin for 'rock loving', referring to its habitat.


Small tree. Twigs glabrous. Stipules absent. Petioles c. 12 mm long. Leaves alternate, whitish below, tri-veined, up to 10 by 5 cm. Inflorescences branched, up to c. 6 cm long, 3-7 flowered, flowers whitish. Fruits purple-black drupes, c. 11 mm long, placed on green cupule.

Trees, 3-14 m tall, up to 30 cm d.b.h. Bark yellow-brown, white lenticellate, scented. Branchlets subterete, longitudinally striate, glabrous; young branchlets +/- tetragonous, subglabrous or sparsely fine pubescent. Bud ovoid, small, ca. 2 mm; bud scales rigid, sparsely puberulent outside. Leaves alternate; petiole up to 12 mm, concave-convex, subglabrous; leaf blade glaucous green and opaque abaxially, green and shiny adaxially, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, (3.5-)6.5-10.5 by (1.2-)2.5-5 cm, thickly leathery, densely or sparsely gray sericeous when young but glabrate or glabrous when mature abaxially, glabrous adaxially, trinerved or triplinerved, midrib and basal lateral veins elevated on both surfaces, basal lateral veins opposite, arising at or up to 10 mm above leaf base, arcuate-ascendant, evanescent near leaf margin, with few oblique veins outside, these veins interconnected within leaf margin, transverse veins +/- conspicuous, veinlets +/- reticulate under lens, base broadly cuneate to subrounded, margin involute, apex shortly acuminate. Panicle axillary, always corymbose, 2.5-5(-6.5) cm, usually much shorter than leaf blade, 3-5(-7)-flowered; peduncle 1.5-4 cm, elongate, bilaterally compressed, peduncle and rachis sparsely gray puberulent. Pedicels 5-7 mm, gray puberulent. Flowers yellow-white, 4-5 mm. Perianth shortly gray sericeous outside and inside; perianth tube obconical, ca. 1 mm; perianth lobes 6, oblong, subequal, 3-4 mm, acute. Fertile stamens 9, ca. 2.5 mm (of 1st and 2nd whorls) or ca. 2.8 mm (of 3rd whorl); filaments sparsely villous, complanate, those of 3rd whorl each with 2 shortly stalked orbicular-reniform glands; anthers ovate-oblong and almost as long as filament (of 1st and 2nd whorls) or oblong and ca. 1/2 as long as filament (of 3rd whorl), all 4-celled; cells introrse (of 1st and 2nd whorls) or extrorse (of 3rd whorl). Staminodes 3, ca. 1.7 mm, long stalked, cordate at apex. Ovary ovoid, ca. 1 mm; style curved, ca. 2 mm; stigma discoid. Fruit ellipsoid, ca. 11 by 5-5.5 mm, purple-black when mature, corky-maculate, obtuse at apex; perianth cup in fruit shallowly cupuliform, ca. 3 by 4 mm, regularly truncate toothed on margin; fruit stalk up to 9 mm, slightly dilated at apex. [From Flora of China]

Sparse or dense forests on hilly land of calcareous or sandy rocks, valley forests; 400-1800(-2200) m.

The bark and roots are used as medicine for abdominal pain. The leafy branchlets contain volatile oil (ca. 35%), the main chemical constituent of which is safrole (80%-95%).

Northeast India, Nepal and Southern China.

Local names