The rough, aromatic leaves of Tarchonanthus littoralis are strongly camphor-scented, helping to remember the common name of coastal camphor bush (or tree). The leaves are dark green above, white and velvety with densely matted hairs below. Leaf dimensions are about 5 cm long and 1 cm wide. Hairs on the upper surfaces of young leaves disappear as the leaves mature, retaining a finely puckered surface. The leaf shape is obovate to elliptic or oblong, tapering to the tip or rounded; the margins entire or finely toothed. The leaf midrib is prominent below and sunken on the upper surface, while lateral veins and some net-veining are visible on both surfaces. Leaves are often folding in slightly along the midrib while curving down near the tips.
Chest and abdominal remedies involving camphor leaves must still be known to some South African grandmothers (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; www.plantzafrica.com).