Tarchonanthus trilobus, the broad-leaved camphor bush or drietandkanferbos (three tooth camphor bush) in Afrikaans, is a shrub or small tree that grows along the South African east coast, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North-West Province. It has grey bark that becomes longitudinally fissured and also flakes.
The leaves are aromatic, narrowly obovate and are usually three-lobed at the apex, but sometimes rounded or tapering. The southerly form of the tree in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape has more pronounced three-lobed leaf tips. The leaf surface is dark green, hairy especially when young and puckered or wrinkly by indenting of the net-veining. The leaf margins vary between being entire, finely toothed or mildly uneven. The cream to yellow flowers grow in axillary spikes. Male and female ones occur on separate trees. The link with the Asteraceae family to which the genus belongs is not obvious from looking at the flowers.
Tarchonanthus species can be distinguished from the somewhat similar looking Brachylaena trees by the fruit of Tarchonanthus being enclosed in white wool whereas a Brachylaena seed has a bristle-like pappus that resembles a shaving brush. Tarchonanthus leaves smell of camphor (Coates Palgrave, 2002; www.plantzafrica .com).