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No. 158: Cinnamomum virens,

R. T. Baker.

Native Camphor Laurel.

(Family LAURACEÆ.)

Botanical description.

— Genus, Cinnamomum. (See Part XLII, p. 35.)

Botanical description.

— Species, C. virens, R.T. Baker, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xxii, 282 (1897), with a plate (t. 13).

A tree about 90 feet high, and up to 2 feet in diameter.

Leaves opposite or occasionally alternate, rigid, coriaceous, shining above, green and glabrous on both sides, the reticulations prominent on the underside, lanceolate-acuminate, either cuneate or rounded at the base, margins nerve-like, 4 to 6 inches long, triplinerved but not prominently so, petiole rarely exceeding 1/4 inch.

Panicles opposite in the axils of the upper leaves, bearing a few flowers in the raceme shorter than the leaves, slightly pubescent.

Peclicels the length of the calyx.

Perianth-tube about 1 line, segments or lobes 2 lines long, constricted for about half its length so as to give it a calyx-like appearance as soon as the ovules are fertilised.

Stamens shorter than the lobes.

Stigma very slightly expanded.

Berry 6 lines long, 4 broad, resting on an enlarged perianth-tube measuring across the top almost 5 lines, shining.

Pedicels enlarged under the fruit, the whole resembling some Quercus fruits and cups, such as Q. pedunculata, &c. (R. T. Baker, loc. cit.)

It differs from C. Oliveri in its foliage, the uniform colour of the upper and lower surfaces of its leaves giving it a distinctive character from those of that species, which are dark-green coloured on the upper surface and whitish below. The neuration found in most other Cinnamomums is slightly developed in this species, although wanting in C. Oliveri. Some specimens preserve a ligbt green colour, others darken a little, but the colour is always distinct from C. Oliveri, Bail., C. ovalifolium, Wight, C. Tamala, Nees, and C. Zeylanicum, Nees; the leaves are also thicker, more rigid, and less fragrant than those of C. Oliveri.

It differs from C. Tamala, Nees, the only Australian representative of this genus recorded in B. Fl. v, 303 (allowing for all variations), in the shape, colour, size and venation of the leaf, as well as in the characters of the stigma; from C. ovalifolium, Wight, in its lanceolate, unicoloured, glabrous leaves, which are also less coriaceous than those of that species.

The perianth is very much more enlarged and thickened tban in C. Oliveri, Bail., which has an entire and thin-edged enlarged perianth-tube, whilst this one appears to show rudimentary lobes. The fruits also are larger than those of C. Oliveri, Bail., and very shining.

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F. M. Bailey (in Bot. Bull. v, p. 25) referers to a probably new species of Cinnamomum under the name of C. propinquum, but I do not think that my specimens can belong to that species, as the branchlets are not 4-angled, neither are the leaves ovate-lanceolate; they are nearly all above 3 inches long, and the under surface is not whitish but green, the same as the upper surface, with the reticulations distinct. (R. T. Baker, loc. cit.)

Botanical Name.

— Cinnamomum, already explained (see Part XLII, p. 35); virens, Latin, youthful and green: hence a bright clear green, referring to the leaves.

Vernacular Name.

— Mr. Baker calls it "Native Camphor Laurel"; it is not specially appropriate; on the other hand, it is as good as most names for our brush trees. He also quotes the name "Copal tree," on account of the high polish of the leaves and fruit. I do not like that name, as the Copals belong to a totally different group of plants found in non-Australian countries, and it is very objectionable.


— Some of them quite triplinerved. They display a good deal of variation in the venation.


— "The bark is thin, non-aromatic, and a distillation of 60 lb. gave very little oil." (R.T. Baker.)


— The remarks on the timber of C. Oliveri, are also applicable to this species (ibid.)

Mr. G. Tingcombe says it is a very tough timber. It is one of a very large number of brush timbers, of whose properties we know nothing, or next to nothing, and I only hope we shall know more of them before they become so scarce as to be of no commercial importance.


— "Not a tall tree, of small dimensions in the Comboyne." (G. Tingcombe.) A large tree as originally described.


— New South Wales. Going north, we have it from Mullumbimby, on the Brunswick River, and Murwillumbah, Tweed River. (R. A. Campbell.)

Its most southern recorded locality, so far, is Comboyne Brush. (G. Tingcombe.) This is just north of the Manning River.

It is a native of the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. It occurs from the Comboyne to the Tweed, and it would be nothing short of a miracle if it did not occur in Queensland.

Mr. Baker says it was found by Mr. Bauerlen on the Richmond River, at Tintenbar, Dunoon, and Goonellah. I have also seen it from him from Alstonville.

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Plate 162: Cinnamomum virens, R.T. Baker. Lithograph by Margaret Flockton.

  • A. Flowering twig.
  • B. Flower.
  • C. Flower, opened out, showing
    • (a) Perianth segments.
    • (b) Stamens, outer row, introrse anthers.
    • (c) Stamens, inner row, extrorse anthers.
    • (d) Staminodia, outer row.
    • (e) Staminodia, inner row.
    • (f) Pistil.
  • D. Perianth segment with stamen.
  • E. Stamen, front view with staminodia at base.
  • F. Stamen, back view with staminodia at base.
  • G. Pistil, half immersed in the perianth-tube.
  • H. Fruit.

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