Don’t forget to “smell the roses”

 whilst hiking on Table Mountain

One of the most enjoyable things about a walk on Table Mountain is the opportunity to escape into a wilderness area and to really enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the pristine floral kingdom found on the mountain. One of the most distinctive smells is the camphor bush or tree. This small tree is found throughout the Table Mountain chain and also has very distinctive velvety leaves with a much darker topside and very visible veins on the lower side. The fruit, which is visible from March to November is covered in fluffy cottonwool hairs and is also extremely eye catching.

The fluffy fruit on a camphor tree

The fluffy fruit on a camphor tree

 The next time you pass one take a leaf and crush it between your fingers. The distinctive aroma is strong and very pleasant. The plant has been used for medicinal purposes throughout history, to assist with blocked sinuses, ease a cough, or as a relaxing rub for sore muscles.

Its Latin name is Tarchonanthus camphoratus which is derived from the Greek word meaning funeral. (presumably due to the preservative properties of camphor)