Camphor trees are an invasive species in north and central Florida. Native to China and Japan, Cinnamomum camphora is easily recognizable by the smell of camphor its shiny green leaves give when crushed.
Camphor trees have a fast growth rate and the ability to produce large amounts of shiny black berries, which are readily eaten by birds, spreading the seed. The Florida jujube, Ziziphus celata, is an endangered native species found in central Florida that is being pushed out by this invasive. Camphor trees are listed as a Category I species on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC) list of invasive species.
This large, round-canopied, evergreen tree has broad, unusually strong branches, and can reach seventy feet in height.
A quick method for identifying camphor is by crushing the leaves or peeling a twig or piece of bark. This releases oils and the scent of camphor. Don’t confuse it with the native red bay which smells similar.
Mowing can be an effective means of killing the seedling trees. Herbicides are an effective control method for trees and stumps. If you live in north and central Florida, take notice of this tree and remove it from your landscape.