Camphor. Japan's new colony of Formosa is the greatest camphor-producing district in the world, and Japan proper comes next, though the ruthless deforestation that has disgraced the present epoch bids fair to ruin this source of national income before the lapse of many more years. Unfortunately, camphor cannot, like lacquer or maple-sugar, be extracted by tapping. The tree must be felled and cut into chips, which are steamed in a vat, the vapour being made to carry off the fumes into a cooling apparatus, where condensation takes place and the camphor and camphor-oil are afterwards skimmed off. Cabinets made of camphor-wood are much esteemed, not only for the fine grain and silky sheen of the wood, but for its efficacy against the attacks of insects.
The camphor-laurel ranks among the stateliest of trees, frequently attaining to an enormous height and girth,—thirty, forty, and even fifty feet in circumference. Grand specimens may be seen at Atami, at Atsuta, and at Dazaifu,—all places on or near the ordinary lines of travel. Such giant trees are often worshipped by the simple country folk, who hang ropes of straw or paper round them in token of reverence.
Books recommended. Rein's Industries of Japan, pp. 143-150.—Der Kampferbaum, by Dr. E. Grasmann, in Part 56 of the "German Asiatic Transactions."