The creamy-white flowers are borne in a branched inflorescence on the terminal end of the branch. The fruits are covered with fluffy cottonwool-like hairs, and are produced mostly in March to November. These woolly, white fruiting heads are strongly scented and most attractive. Male and female flowers are borne on separate trees.
The name Tarchonanthus is derived from the Greek word meaning funeral flower. This name is divided into two parts, 'Tarchos', which means funeral rites and 'Anthos' meaning flower. It is unclear why this name was given, but Jackson (1990) suggests it may have to do with the camphorous smell. The name camphoratus refers to the strong smell of camphor given off when the leaves are crushed.
Animals such as kudu, giraffe, impala and springbok browse the leaves of this tree.
There are only a few species of Tarchonanthus. T trilobus is also in cultivation. The genus occurs in Africa and Arabia. It is closely related to Brachylaena, which also provides attractive, grey-leafed, small trees for the garden.