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Camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora)

Present distribution


Scientific name:

Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J.Presl
Common name(s):

camphor laurel

Map showing the present distribution of this weed.
Habitat:

Camphor will grow in full sun or partial shade (Duever 2005; Panetta 2001). Camphor does not do well in wet soils. Camphor prefers fertile sandy soil; it will tolerate a pH anywhere in the range of 4.3-8. Established trees are tolerant of drought. Mature trees will survive freezes down to -9--12C but new growth will suffer at temperatures below 0C (Duever 2005). Particularly common along watercourses and on soil types that once supported rainforest (DPI QLD 2007). It is invasive within rainforest, bushland, roadsides moist gullies, moist woodlands and riverine environments as well as highly modified and cleared landscapes (Muyt 2001; Richardson et al. 2006)


Potential distribution

Potential distribution produced from CLIMATE modelling refined by applying suitable landuse and vegetation type overlays with CMA boundaries

Map Overlays Used

Land Use:
Broadacre cropping; forestry; horticulture perennial; horticulture seasonal; pasture dryland; pasture irrigation; water

Ecological Vegetation Divisions
Coastal; heathland; grassy/heathy dry forest; lowland forest; foothills forest; forby forest; damp forest; wet forest; rainforest; high altitude shrubland/woodland; high altitude wetland; alpine treeless; granitic hillslopes; alluvial plains woodland; ironbark/box; riverine woodland/forest

Colours indicate possibility of Cinnamomum camphora infesting these areas.

In the non-coloured areas the plant is unlikely to establish as the climate, soil or landuse is not presently suitable.
maps
Red= Very highOrange = Medium
Yellow = HighGreen = Likely

Impact

QUESTION
COMMENTS
RATING
CONFIDENCE
Social
1. Restrict human access?Camphor laurel is a large tree that can grow up to 30 metres tall (Ashe and Evans 2007; James Cook 2009).
Camphor laurel is a dense evergreen that is capable of growing between 15-40 metres tall and spreading twice that distance (Duever 2005). “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007).
- High nuisance value. People and/or vehicles access with difficulty.
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2. Reduce tourism?It has irritating qualities as well as a numbing effect (Duever 2005). “The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007). Invades moist bushland slopes and gullies, creating dense shade, competing with and taking over from native species, and continuing to inhibit their regeneration even after its removal (Weeds of the Blue Mountains undated). Aggressively replaces native vegetation (DPI QLD 2007). Marvellously fragrant (Macoboy 2007).
- Some recreational uses effected, as well as aesthetics.
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3. Injurious to people?It has irritating qualities as well as a numbing effect (Duever 2005). Known to be toxic to humans, causing confusion, delirium, death from respiratory failure, and allergic skin reactions, probably caused by the berries. (Mangrove Mountain undated).
- Toxic and causes serious allergies to humans throughout the year.
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4. Damage to cultural sites?Trees can disrupt drains and lift building foundations (Ashe and Evans 2007). Camphor laurel develops a massive root system which blocks drains and cracks concrete structures, as well as pushes over fences and disrupts power facilities (DPI QLD 2007).
- Major structural damage to site.
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Abiotic
5. Impact flow?It grows on mesic forests on well drained sites along streambanks (Duever 2005). Invades disturbed riparian systems (DPI QLD 2007). “Its roots are shallow” (Muyt 2001).
- Little impact on surface flow.
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6. Impact water quality?“Where camphor laurel grows along river banks there has been a decline in fish numbers, possibly due to the toxins from the leaves and seeds entering the water. “The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” (Ashe and Evans 2007). It is especially invasive of stream banks reducing light and crowding out other species (Weeds Australia undated).
- Noticeable but moderate effects in both dissolved O2 and light; causing algal blooms.
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7. Increase soil erosion?“Its roots are shallow and afford very little protection to streambanks or steep slopes making infested areas prone to erosion” (Muyt 2001).
- High probability of large scale soil movement, with minor off-site implications.
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8. Reduce biomass? “The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” (Ashe and Evans 2007).
- Biomass may increase.
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9. Change fire regime?It is hard to burn (Duever 2005). No information in FIES (2009). Fire kills plant tops but produces regrowth from the base (Land Protection 2006).
- Small or negligible impact on fire risk.
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Community Habitat
10. Impact on composition
(a) high value EVC
EVC = Alluvial Terraces Herb-Rich Woodlands (V); CMA =North Central; Bioregion = Goldfields;
VH CLIMATE potential.
“The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007). Invades moist bushland slopes and gullies, creating dense shade, competing with and taking over from native species, and continuing to inhibit their regeneration even after its removal (Weeds of the Blue Mountains undated). Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats (Muyt 2001).
- Major displacement of some dominant species within a strata/layer. (Or some dominant species within different layers).
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(b) medium value EVCEVC = Shallow Sands Woodland (D); CMA = Mallee; Bioregion = Lowan Mallee;
VH CLIMATE potential.
“The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007). Invades moist bushland slopes and gullies, creating dense shade, competing with and taking over from native species, and continuing to inhibit their regeneration even after its removal (Weeds of the Blue Mountains undated). Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats (Muyt 2001).
- Major displacement of some dominant species within a strata/layer. (Or some dominant species within different layers).
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(c) low value EVCEVC = Lowan Sands Mallee (LC); CMA = Wimmera; Bioregion = Wimmera;
VH CLIMATE potential.
“The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007). Invades moist bushland slopes and gullies, creating dense shade, competing with and taking over from native species, and continuing to inhibit their regeneration even after its removal (Weeds of the Blue Mountains undated). Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats (Muyt 2001).
- Major displacement of some dominant species within a strata/layer. (Or some dominant species within different layers).
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11. Impact on structure?“The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007). Invades moist bushland slopes and gullies, creating dense shade, competing with and taking over from native species, and continuing to inhibit their regeneration even after its removal (Weeds of the Blue Mountains undated). Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats (Muyt 2001).
- Major effects on all layers, forms monoculture; no other strata/layers present.
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12. Effect on threatened flora?“The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007). Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats (Muyt 2001).
- Any population of Bioregional priority 1A species are replaced.
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Fauna
13. Effect on threatened fauna?“The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” Animals that do consume camphor laurel die in the long term as the toxins gather in their bodies and eventually kill them. (Ashe and Evans 2007).
- Reduction in habitat for threatened species, leading to reduction in numbers of individuals, but not local extinction.
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14. Effect on non-threatened fauna?“The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007). Aggressively replaces native vegetation
- Reduction in habitat for fauna species, leading to reduction in numbers of individuals, but not local extinction.
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15. Benefits fauna?“The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007).
- Provides some assistance in shelter for desirable species.
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16. Injurious to fauna?“Leaves contain toxins that recent studies have linked to death of finderlings, tadpoles and aquatic invertebrates” (Muyt 2001). Camphor laurel is responsible for causing mass bird deaths by poisoning. Birds, tadpoles, koalas and other native mammals are threatened by toxic chemotypes of camphor laurel. (DECC 2008). Animals that do consume camphor laurel die in the long term as the toxins gather in their bodies and eventually kill them. (Ashe and Evans 2007). Roots are toxic to some native animals; oils may pollute water, killing fish (Mangrove Mountain undated).
- Toxic and/or causes allergies.
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Pest Animal
17. Food source to pests?Palatability to livestock is high (Mangrove Mountain Weeds undated). Spread is aided by birds as they consume the berries (Ashe and Evans 2007; DPI QLD 2007).
- Supplies food for one or more minor pest species (e.g. blackbirds or environmental insect pests).
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18. Provides harbor?Camphor laurel is a large tree that can grow up to 30 metres tall (Ashe and Evans 2007; James Cook 2009).
“The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” (Ashe and Evans 2007). “The seedlings grow rapidly, crowd out all other vegetation and then throw a dense shade which quickly takes care of the undergrowth as well.” “Away from suburbia the resulting monocultures reduce natural food sources for Australia’s unique animals.” Animals that do consume camphor laurel die in the long term as the toxins gather in their bodies and eventually kill them. (Ashe and Evans 2007).Rabbits and foxes may dig burrows/warrens under the roots of camphor laurel, high potential for shelter/habitat.
- Capacity to provide harbour and permanent warrens for foxes and rabbits throughout the year.
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Agriculture
19. Impact yield?Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats. It can invade highly modified and cleared landscapes (Muyt 2001). “Established plants are difficult to control given their propensity to sucker vigorously in response to root or trunk damage” (Muyt 2001).
- Minor impact on quantity of produce (e.g. <5% reduction.
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20. Impact quality?Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats (Muyt 2001). Animals that do consume camphor laurel die in the long term as the toxins gather in their bodies and eventually kill them. (Ashe and Evans 2007). Roots are toxic to some native animals; oils may pollute water, killing fish (Mangrove Mountain undated).
Although Cinnamomum camphora may exclude agricultural species, and reduce yield, no evidence suggests a negative effect on the quality of the produce.
- Little or negligible impact on quality of produce.
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21. Affect land value?Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats (Muyt 2001).
If a Cinnamomum camphora tree develops in an agricultural area, it is likely to out-compete the pasture species, and reduce carrying capacity and arable land. Therefore land value will be reduced in that it can not support or grow anything, and is not profitable.
- Decreases land value by <10%.
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22. Change land use?Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats. It can invade highly modified and cleared landscapes. “Established plants are difficult to control given their propensity to sucker vigorously in response to root or trunk damage” (Muyt 2001).
An established camphor laurel tree is able to completely exclude other species from growing beneath and around it, unless there is several trees growing close together, and excluding a large area of land, land use is unlikely to be completely altered, but it may be reduced.
- Some change, but no serious alteration of agricultural return. Affects more the visual rather than intrinsic agricultural values.
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23. Increase harvest costs?Camphor laurel is an aggressive species capable of totally dominating moist habitats. It can invade highly modified and cleared landscapes. “Established plants are difficult to control given their propensity to sucker vigorously in response to root or trunk damage” (Muyt 2001). To remove a tree can cost up $1000 or more (Ashe and Evans 2007).
- Minor increases in cost of harvesting e.g. more time or labour is required.
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24. Disease host/vector?Brunt et al. (1996) do not list Cinnamomum camphora as a host to diseases or viruses.
No other information was found.
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Invasive

QUESTION
COMMENTS
RATING
CONFIDENCE
Establishment
1. Germination requirements?Most germination of Cinnamomum camphora occurred during periods when weekly temperatures averaged ≤ 20C. “Germination of surface sown seeds occurred only where soil moisture content was maintained at consistently high levels” (Panetta 2001).
- Requires natural seasonal disturbances such as seasonal rainfall and temperatures for germination.
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2. Establishment requirements?Camphor will grow in full sun or partial shade (Duever 2005; Panetta 2001). Camphor does not do well in wet soils (Duever 2005).
- Requires more specific requirements to establish (e.g. open space, bare ground, access to light and rainfall).
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3. How much disturbance is required?Camphor prefers fertile sandy soil; it will tolerate a pH anywhere in the range of 4.3-8. It will grow in full sun or part shade. Camphor does not do well in wet soils. Established trees are tolerant of drought. Mature trees will survive freezes down to -9--12C but new growth will suffer at temperatures below 0C (Duever 2005). Particularly common along watercourses and on soil types that once supported rainforest (DPI QLD 2007). It is invasive within rainforest, gullies, moist woodlands and riverine environments as well as highly modified and cleared landscapes (Muyt 2001). Has become invasive on moist gullies, bush land, along rivers, roadsides and other disturbed sites (Richardson et al. 2006).
- Establishes in relatively intact or only minor disturbed ecosystems; in vigorously growing crops or well established pastures.
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Growth/Competitive
4. Life form?A large evergreen tree (DPI QLD 2007).
- Other.
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5. Allelopathic properties?No evidence of allellopathy.
- None.
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6. Tolerates herb pressure?Withstands pruning (Levy-Yamamori et al. 2004). Spread is aided by birds as they consume the berries (Ashe and Evans 2007; DPI QLD 2007).
- Consumed but non-preferred.
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7. Normal growth rate?Seedlings can take up to a year to develop strong root systems (Muyt 2001). “Fast growing” (Chiefetz et al. 1999; Macoboy 2007).
- Rapid growth rate that will exceed most other species of the same life form.
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8. Stress tolerance to frost, drought, w/logg, sal. etc?Camphor does not do well in wet soils, established trees are drought tolerant (Duever 2005).
Frost-tender when young, withstands hot, dry conditions once established. Suitable for warmer areas particularly if irrigation water is available (Simpfendorfer 1985). It is hard to burn (Duever 2005). Intolerant of heavy shade (Panetta 2001).
- Tolerant to at least two, susceptible to at least one stress.
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Reproduction
9. Reproductive systemPropagation through seeds and cuttings (Levy-Yamamori et al. 2004). Spreads by seeds and suckers (Mangrove Mountain undated).
- Both sexual and vegetative reproduction.
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10. Number of propagules produced?Camphor is a prolific seed producer (Duever 2005). Produces over 100,000 seeds per year (DPI QLD 2007; Muyt 2001)
- Above 2000.
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11. Propagule longevity?Camphor seed does not remain viable for long (Duever 2005). Viability [of seeds] is enhanced after ingestion by birds or soaking in water, with seed remaining viable in the soil for up to three years (Muyt 2001). “Seeds of Cinnamomum camphora are short lived in or on the soil (Panetta 2001).
- Greater than 25% of seeds survive 5 years, or vegetatively reproduces.
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12. Reproductive period?A large evergreen tree (DPI QLD 2007). “They reach sexual maturity after seven years (Muyt 2001).
- Mature plant produces viable propagules for 10 years or more.
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13. Time to reproductive maturity?“They reach sexual maturity after seven years (Muyt 2001).
- Greater than five years to reach sexual maturity, or for vegetative propagules to become separate individuals.
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Dispersal
14. Number of mechanisms?Spread is aided by birds as they consume the berries (Ashe and Evans 2007; DPI QLD 2007). Spread by birds and possums deep into bushland (Weeds of Blue Mountains undated). Seeds distributed by birds and water (Weeds Australia undated). Seed is dispersed by birds, foxes, possums and water (Muyt 2001).
- Seeds dispersed by water, birds and internal transport by other fauna.
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15. How far do they disperse?Spread is aided by birds as they consume the berries (Ashe and Evans 2007; DPI QLD 2007). Spread by birds and possums deep into bushland (Weeds of Blue Mountains undated). Seedlings and root sprouts are abundant near mature trees, but individual trees pop up far from seed sources (Duever 2005).
- Very likely that at least one propagule will disperse greater than one kilometre.
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References

Ashe and Evans (2007) http://www-staff.it.uts.edu.au/~don/larvae/plants/laur/cinnamomum-camphora.html (verified 12 May 2009).

Chiefetz A (1999) Botanica’s Pocket Trees and Shrubs. Published by Random House Australia.

Deuver LC (2005) http://www.floridata.com/ref/C/cinn_cam.cfm (verified 12 May 2009).

DPI QLD (2007) http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/dpi/hs.xsl/4790_7163_ENA_HTML.htm (verified 12 May 2009).

James Cook University (2009) http://cms.jcu.edu.au/discovernature/weedscommon/JCUDEV_011591 (verified 12 May 2009).

Levy-Yamamori R, Levy R, Taaffe G (2004) Garden Plants of Japan. Published by Timber Press.

Land Protection (2006) QLD Government http://www.nqccs.com.au/library/weeds/camphor_laurel.pdf (verified 12 May 2009).

Macoboy S (2007) What Tree is That? New Holland Publishers Pty Limited

Mangrove mountain (undated) http://www.weeds.mangrovemountain.net/data/Cinnamomum%20camphora%20-%20Camphor%20laurel.pdf (verified 12 May 2009).

Muyt A. (2001) Bush Invaders of South-East Australia: A Guide To the Identification and Control of Environmental Weeds Found in South-East Australia.
R.G. and F.J. Richardson. Meredith.

Richardson FJ, Richardson RG and Shepherd RCH. (2006) Weeds of the South-east. An Identification Guide for Australia. RG & FJ Richardson. Meredith.

Simpfendorfer KJ (1975) An Introduction to Trees for South Eastern Australia. Published by Inkata Press.

Weeds of Blue Mountains (undated) http://www.weedsbluemountains.org.au/camphor_laurel.asp (verified 12 May 2009).

Weeds Australia (undated). Available at http://www.weeds.org.au/cgi-bin/weedident.cgi?tpl=plant.tpl&ibra=all&card=T01 (verified 12 May 2009).


Global present distribution data references

Australian National Herbarium (ANH) Australia’s Virtual Herbarium, Centre for Plant Diversity and Research. (2008) Available at http://www.anbg.gov.au/avh/ (verified 12 May 2009).

Department of the Environment and Heritage (Commonwealth of Australia). (1993 – On-going) Australian Plant Name Index (APNI) http://www.cpbr.gov.au/apni/index.html (verified 12 May 2009).

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). (2008) Available at http://www.gbif.org/ (verified 12 May 2009).

Integrated Taxonomic Information System. (2009) Available at http://www.itis.gov/ (verified 12 May 2009).

Missouri Botanical Gardens (MBG). w3TROPICOS, Missouri Botanical Gardens Database. (2009) Available at http://mobot.mobot.org/W3T/Search/vast.html (verified 12 May 2009)

United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. Taxonomy Query. (2009) Available at http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxgenform.pl (verified 12 May 2009).


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