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Tarchonanthus camphoratus


Tarchonanthus camphoratus (known as camphor bush for its scent, or leleshwa in Kenya), is a shrub or small tree, widespread in Africa south of the Sahel.


The camphor bush can reach up to 6 meters in height. The twigs and younger stems are white-felted, as are the undersides of the leaves. The upper leaf surface is dark olive-green. Bruised leaves smell strongly of camphor. Tarchonanthus camphoratus is dioecious. Flowers are usually present from December to May (in South Africa), with cream colored panicles on a discoid head. Male flowering heads have several flowers whilst the female has only a few. The fruit is a dense and woolly achene.<ref>Hilliard, O.M. Compositae in Natal. University of Natal Press, 1977. pp. 110-112.</ref>

Cultivation and uses

Tarchonanthus camphoratus wood is fragrant, close-grained, attractive, durable and rich in aromatic oils. It is used as wood fuel and a source of charcoal.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref><ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> It is also used as a traditional building material, in horticulture, and in tribal papermaking. Leleshwa is also a source of aromatic oils<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref><ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> used as fragrances. Its leaves are used by the Maasai to scent their homes and persons.

Medicinal use

Tarchonanthus camphoratus is used as a traditional remedy for respiratory illnesses.<ref>[1] "Tarchonantus Camphoratus Herba", Google Docs.</ref> The species has wide range of local uses, including dental hygiene.