Cinnamomum kanehirae (Hayata) Hayata
Cinnamomum xanthophyllum H.W.Li
Machilus micrantha Hayata
Common Name: Chinese Sassafras
Cinnamomum micranthum is an evergreen tree usually growing 14 - 20 metres tall, occasionally reaching 30 metres. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 25 - 65cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for medicinal use, its wood and essential oil. It is also a host tree for a much-used medicinal fungus and is a popular ever-green ornamental, with a good form and attractive glabrous broad leaves[
Although relatively widespread in, the species has experienced considerable habitat declines, largely because of conversion to agriculture. Overall, the plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
]. However, the Taiwanese endemic, Cinnamomum kanehirae (listed as 'Endangered' in 1998 and now viewed as a form of Cinnamomum micranthum), was an abundant tree species at the beginning of the twentieth century and is one of the most valuable timber species in Taiwan. More recently it has become rare through years of clearing forestland and illegal selective cutting.
E. Asia - southern China (Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Jiangxi), Taiwan, northern Vietnam
Lowland rain forest in valleys, on mountain slopes and along rivers and roadsides, almost always with Cinnamomum parthenoxylon; at elevations from 300 - 650 metres, to 1,800 metres in Taiwan[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Cinnamomum micranthum is native from warm temperate to tropical regions of southern China and northern Vietnam. It is somewhat frost tolerant and is likely to succeed outdoors in milder areas of the temperate zone so long as summers are warm enough to fully ripe the current season's growth.
Species in this genus generally prefer an acidic soil with ample moisture in the growing season and a position with some shade[
Species in this genus are generally able to resprout from basal wood if the top is damaged, and will soon recover from any damage[
Seeds are often either not produced or only produced in small quantities[
]. This seems to be in large part because the tree self-pollinates and the female and the male sexual organs will often not mature at the same time, so fertilization is very low[
All the following reports were for Cinnamomum kanehirae Hayata, a plant endemic to Taiwan which is now considered to be a form of Cinnamomum micranthum (as Cinnamomum micranthum f. kanehirae (Hayata) S.S.Ying).
The plant is said to be beneficial to clear the lungs, dispel apathy, and calm nervous depression[
Since it contains a rich amount of camphor oil, the essential oil is used in aromatherapy as well as for topical application to treat some dermatological diseases and promote general health[
The essential oil has been reported to have antimicrobial activities[
An ethanol extraxt of the leaves has been shown to have a cytotoxic effect upon cancer cells[
This species is the major host for the medicinal fungus Antrodia cinnamomea, which exhibits potential anticancer and hepato-protective properties. The fungus is much used in traditional medicine to treat a range of conditions, and the tree is used both to harvest the fungus and also to cultivate it. A growing quantity of evidence shows that extracts, fermented products, or compounds isolated from the fungus possess growth inhibitory activity against various types of cancers[
The trees are suitable for extracting aromatic oil which contains the important industrial material-safrole[
The seeds are rich in oil[
]. No uses are given.
An excellent quality timber for ship- and furniture-making as it possesses the qualities of a pleasing fragrance, straight wood texture, and a uniform and exquisite structure[
Seed - it generally has a short viability and is best sown as soon in containers as it is ripe[
]. Remove the fruit pulp since this can inhibit germination[
]. Soaking the seeds for 24 hours in lukewarm water hastens germination[
], which can take 1 - 6 months at 20°c[
]. The germination rate of fresh seed is about 50%, falling to 25% for seed 6 months old, and zero for those 1 year old[
]. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible in containers[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions when 10cm or more tall. Seeds are often either not produced or only produced in small quantities[
Cuttings of semi-ripe side shoots, 7cm with a heel, in a frame with bottom heat[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.