Arbor camphorifera Rumph.
Dipterocarpus dryobalanops Steud.
Dipterocarpus teres Steud.
Dryobalanops camphora Colebr.
Dryobalanops sumatrensis (J.F.Gmel.) Kosterm.
Laurus sumatrensis J.F.Gmel.
Common Name: Borneo Camphor
Looking up the trunk into the canopy
Photograph by: taufuuu
Borneo camphor is a tall, evergreen tree with a large, globose crown; it usually reaches a height of 40 - 50 metres, with occasional specimens up to 60 metres tall238]. It has a straight bole that can be unbranched for 30 metres and is usually 1 - 1.5 metres in diameter with exceptional specimens to 3 metres316].
The tree is a source of camphor, used medicinally and in perfumes, and is also the most important source of a high quality timber, known as kapur, which is used locally and also traded[
]. The plant has a long history of medicinal use, with evidence that it has been traded internationally since at least the 6th century AD[
The tree is classified as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2009), with only small subpopulations of the species having been found in forest reserves[
Southeast Asia - Malaysia, Indonesia.
Undisturbed mixed dipterocarp forests at elevations up to 300 metres[
]. Usually found growing on hillsides and ridges with sandy soils[
]. In secondary forests it is usually present as a pre-disturbance remnant tree[
|Conservation Status||Critically Endangered
|Other Uses Rating||
A plant of the humid tropics.
Prefers a well-drained, moist soil in full sun or partial shade[
Borneo camphor has a long history of medicinal use, both the aromatic liquid known as 'oil of camphor' and the crystallised exudate, or true camphor, being employed. A bitter, pungent, stimulant herb, it is analgesic, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, antispasmodic and febrifuge[
It is used internally to treat conditions such as fainting; convulsions associated with high fever; cholera and pneumonia[
It is used externally to treat a range of skin conditions, including ulcers, mouth ulcers, abscesses, boils, cold sores and ringworm[
]. It is also used to treat rheumatism, sore throats, chest infections and conjunctivitis[
In aromatherapy, it is used both internally and externally as an antiseptic, sedative and tonic for the heart and adrenal cortex[
]. It is particularly valued for skin problems, rheumatism, infectious diseases, depression and convalescence[
Young trees produce a clear yellow, aromatic liquid, known as 'oil of camphor'[
]. This sometimes crystallises in cavities in the trunks of older specimens to form true camphor[
An essential oil is obtained from the camphor. It is used in perfumes with a camphoraceous note[
The heartwood is reddish brown to pinkish brown; it is clearly demarcated from the 4 - 8cm wide band of whitish to yellowish brown sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain straight or interlocked; there is a strong camphor-like smell when freshly cut. The wood is moderately heavy; soft to moderately hard; moderately durable, being resistant to fungi and dry wood borers, and moderately resistant to termites. It seasons slowly with only a slight risk of checking or distortion; once dry it is stable in sevice. The wood has a fairly high blunting effect, stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; it splits easily; nailing and screwing are good, but require pre-boring; gluing is correct, though resin exudation can cause problems. It is used for a wide range of applications including house construction, bridges, boards, heavy carpentry, joinery, panelling, turnery, tool handles, boxes and crates[
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