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Cinnamomum facts for kids

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Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora
Scientific classification

Cinnamomum is a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs. All of them belong to the same family as the laurel, Laurelaceae. The species in the genus have aromatic oils in their leaves and bark. There are over 300 species in the genus. They can be found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, Oceania, Asia and Australasia.

Well-known Cinnamomum species include Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, also known as "true cinnamon" or Ceylon Cinnamon); Cassia (C. aromaticum or C. cassia), Camphor laurel (C. camphora), Saigon cinnamon (C. loureiroi, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon, Vietnamese cassia, or Saigon cassia), Malabathrum (C. tamala, also known as C. tejpata; tejpat or tej pat in Hindi; or, inaccurately, "Indian bay leaf").


This genus is present in Himalayas and other mountain areas and is present in tropical and subtropical montane rainforest, in the weed-tree forests, in valleys, and mixed forests of coniferous and deciduous broad-leaved trees, from southern China, India, and Southeast Asia. Some species, such as Cinnamomum camphora, tolerate drought.

Selected species

About 250 species are known, including several commercially important ones.

Cinnamomum parthenoxylon and Cinnamomum camphora are large evergreen trees that can grow to 30 m in height and 3 m in diameter, with broadly ovate crowns. Terminal buds are broadly ovoid or globular, and covered with sericeous scales. Bark is yellowish-brown with irregular vertical splits. Branches are light brown, cylindrical, and glabrous.

The inner bark of several species is used to make the spice, cinnamon. Other notable species are C. tamala, used as the herb malabathrum (also called tejpat and Indian bay leaf), and C. camphora, from which camphor is produced.

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