Where come camphor come from?

Natural camphor is a fragrant gum that comes from the camphor tree.  Camphor (pronounced KAM-fur) is a fragrant gum that comes from the camphor laurel tree.

Camphor is used in medicine, explosives, and plastics, as well as in many other useful products.  (Perhaps your mother uses balls of camphor in closets and drawers to keep moths away.)

Most camphor trees grow in Japan and on the island of Formosa.  The trees grow tall and have small white flowers and shiny, green, leathery leaves that smell like camphor when crushed.  The camphor is obtained by chopping the wood of the trees and steaming the chips.

The camphor comes off as a vapor that condenses into crystals, which are then purified into gum camphor.  The oil left after the camphor has been taken out is known as camphor oil, which is used in scenting soap.

Chemists have learned to make artificial camphor that is practically identical with camphor from the camphor trees.–Dick Rogers

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