This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(the ancient Greek name). Laura-ceas. Evergreen trees and shrubs of Asia and Australia, with aromatic leaves and wood, of which a few are cultivated in the extreme southern United States.
Leaves usually thick, mostly opposite, strongly 3-nerved or pinnate-nerved: buds not scaly (exception in C. Camphora): flowers usually perfect, with 9 (or less) perfect stamens in 3 unlike rows and a row of imperfect ones; perianth short-tubed, segments 6 and nearly equal: fruit a small 1-seeded berry, in the cup-like perianth. - Upward of 50 species, among which are plants yielding cinnamon (C. zeylanicum), camphor (C. Cam-phora), cassia-bark (C. Cassia), and other aromatic and medicinal products. Various species may be expected in collections of economic plants, but most of them are not strictly horticultural subjects. It is not known whether some of the species in cult, in this country are passing under the proper names; possibly C. Tamala, fruit Nees, widely distributed in the Far East, may be confused in our cultures.
The genus Cinnamomum embraces tropical and semi-tropical shrubs and trees, which are mostly of economic value, and in one or more cases are valuable shade trees for lawn and street planting. The leaves are evergreen, usually of a rich shining green, and in C. Camphora have a silvery blue color on the under surfaces. C. Camphora, the camphor tree, is hardy in the lower Gulf states, and is now being extensively planted, both for shade and extraction of gum. C. Cassia is not quite so hardy, but withstands a temperature of 20° F. without injury, and has been planted in Florida for manufacture of its various products,-oil, gum, buds and cinnamon bark. C. zeylanicum, is likely to be extensively grown in Mexico and the West Indies. - The various species are usually propagated by seeds, which are sown as soon as ripe in a shaded bed, the seedlings being transplanted when very small into pots and kept thus growing until permanent planting out. The species, without exception, are very difficult to transplant from the open ground, and hence pot-grown plants are almost a necessity. Cuttings of half-ripened wood of some species may be rooted in the spring in moderate heat, following the usual method of preparation, and planting in coarse sand.
The soil best suited to cinnamomums in general, and C. Camphora in particular, is sandy loam, although a heavy loam, when well prepared, answers fairly well. The sandy soil of Florida, when moderately manured, suits all species so far tried admirably. (E. N. Reasoner.)
(Camphora officinarum, Nees. Laurus Camphora, Linn.). Camphor Tree. Stout tree with enlarged base, to 40 ft.: leaves alternate, ovate-elliptic, acuminate, not large or very thick, pinkish on the young growths, with a pair or more of strong side veins: buds scaly: flowers small, yellow, in axillary panicles; perianth membranaceous: fruit a drupe the size of a large pea. China, Japan. B.M. 2658. - A handsome dense-topped tree when young, becoming bare below with age; withstands some frost. The young growth is very attractive. It is hardy in central peninsular Fla., where it thrives well if attention is given to fertilizing and cultivating; it does not thrive in wet soils. Camphor is a common roadside planting in S. Calif. Com-merical camphor is extracted from the wood.
Nees. Cinnamon Tree. Small tree (20-30 ft.): leaves very stiff, 4-7 in. long, ovate to lance-ovate, glossy, 3-5-nerved, obtuse or somewhat acute, reticulate on under side: flowers small ( 1/4in. long), yellowwhite, in loose somewhat silky clusters, which often exceed the leaves: fruit 2/3in. long, dry, pointed. India, Malaya, and widely dispersed in tropical countries as a cult, plant. B.M. 2028. L.B.C 1:91. - Variable; and many forms have been described.
Cassia, Blume. Cassia-Bark Tree. Handsome tree: leaves stiff, 3-6 in. long, oblong to nearly lanceolate, long-acuminate, glossy, 3-ribbed; petiole slender: flowers very small, in terminal or axillary silky-tomentose panicles 3-6 in. long: fruit size of a pea. China. - Young branches somewhat 4-angled. Hardy and successful in central peninsular Fla. (Nehrling), thriving best in moist and rich land, and making specially fine specimens near residences where now and then it receives applications of fertilizer and water.
Presl. Glabrous tree: leaves thick, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, 3-nerved, glossy above; petiole to 3/4in. long; blade 2-5 in. long and somewhat glaucous or areolate beneath: flowers very small (1/3in.. or less long), in axillary corymbs that about equal the leaves; perianth glabrous outside and whitish-puberulent inside, the lobes oval-obtuse: berry globose-ovoid, 1/4in. long. Japan. - This species is said to have been introduced at Los Angeles some 35 years ago, where a handsome tree still exists, seedlings of which are to be found in other parts of S. Calif. In central peninular Fla., this species and C. Lourierii are hardy and attractive, thriving particularly well in rich and rather moist land.
Loureirii, Nees. Cassia-Flower Tree. Middle-sized tree, glabrous: leaves opposite or alternate, rigid, elliptic or oblong, attenuate-acuminate; petiole to 1/2in. long, the blades 3-5 in. long: flowers very small (there is a variegated-lvd. form). China, Japan. - Perhaps a form of the last, with nerves on upper side of If. less prominent or sunken, and other minor differences.
L. H. B