Calophyllum calaba (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Calophyllum calaba L.

Protologue: Sp. pl.: 514 (1753).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: balud, kayu paku, kayu bangkur (Sumatra)
  • Malaysia: bintangor bunga (Peninsular)
  • Thailand: ta ngo (Phangnga, Yala), mu-ta-ngoh (Malay, Yala).


Sri Lanka, Indo-China (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam), Thailand, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands; also in north-eastern Australia (Queensland).


The timber is used as bintangor. The latex is used as a fish poison, and in Cambodia for shampoo. The fruits are edible.


  • A small to large tree up to 40(-50) m tall with bole up to 80(-160) cm in diameter, usually without buttresses; twigs (2-)4(-6)-angled or rounded, usually strongly flattened, terminal bud plump to conical, (1.5-)3-11 mm long.
  • Leaves usually elliptical to ovate, (1.5-)3-13 cm long, cuneate to cordate at base, subacuminate to retuse at apex, with (8-)10-20(-28) veins per 5 mm.
  • Inflorescences axillary, unbranched or with 3-flowered branches, (3-)5-15-flowered; flowers with 4(-6) tepals.
  • Fruit spherical, ovoid or ellipsoid, 6-16 mm long, with fairly thin outer layer having air spaces, yellowish-green, pale chestnut or purplish-black.

C. calaba is a very variable species. Several varieties are distinguished, the most important in Malesia being var. bracteatum (Wight) P.F. Stevens (synonyms: C. amoenum auct., C. curtisii King). C. calaba is common in lowland or lower montane mixed dipterocarp forest, up to 1500 m altitude.

Selected sources

1, 318, 648, 779.

Main genus page


R.H.M.J. Lemmens (selection of species)