Ocotea usambarensis Engl. LAURACEAE


Names: Camphor (trade name); Muthaiti, Musili (Kikuyu).

Description: Tree 25-45m, evergreen; bole massive, up to 3m wide, slightly fluted; bark reddish-brown, scaly or flaky. Leaves often subopposite, strongly discolorous, glaucous-whitish, ovate or elliptic, base rounded or cuneate, apex acute or shortly acuminate, margin often inrolled, 5-10 by 3-5.5cm (-14 x 8cm on sucker shoots), often puberolous beneath; camphor-scented when crushed. Flowers greenish in 10-25-flowered puberolous panicles, 1.5-6cm long; corolla about 3mm long. Fruit ovoid, 6 x 5 mm, with a cup to 2.5mm high.

Occurence: Dominant tree in the wet forests of the Aberdares and southern Mt. Kenya slopes up to 2600 masl and also in the Taita hills.

Use: Wood yellow-brown and hard, used for panelling and furniture.