Cinnamomum culitlawan (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Cinnamomum culitlawan (L.) Kosterm.

Family: Lauraceae


  • Cinnamomum culilaban (L.) J.S. Presl,
  • C. culilawan (Roxb.) J.S. Presl,
  • Laurus culitlawan L.

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: kulitlawang, kayu teja (Indonesian), salakat (Ambon)


Indonesia (Moluccas: Ambon and adjacent islands, but apparently very rare). It is said to have been also occasionally planted elsewhere (e.g. in Malaysia and India), but this is difficult to verify because the name "culitlawan” has been used for several other Cinnamomum species as well.


The bark smells of cloves (this is the meaning of "kulitlawang”) and is used as a spice and medicinally. The bark and its oil (lawang oil) are used as a constipating agent and as a medicine against cholera. The oil is a source of eugenol used e.g. for synthesis of vanillin. The root bark also has a fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Miller) flavour and has been used as a substitute for sassafras bark (Sassafras albidum (Nutt.) Nees). The wood is not suitable for timber but is good for fuel.


  • Tree with slender branchlets.
  • Leaves opposite; petiole up to 1 cm long; blade lanceolate-oblong to ovate-elliptical, 9-12 cm × 2.5-4.5 cm, coriaceous, glabrous.
  • Inflorescence an axillary panicle, 6 cm long, few-flowered; flowers densely pilose.

There is much confusion around C. culitlawan; only 2 poor flowering specimens and several sterile specimens are known from herbaria. Much of the information in the literature refers to other species.

Selected sources

  • Burkill, I.H., 1935. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. 2 volumes. Crown Agents for the Colonies, London, United Kingdom. 2402 pp. (slightly revised reprint, 1966. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2444 pp.).
  • Cammerloher, H., 1925. Die Cinnamomum-Arten von Niederländisch-Ostindien [The Cinnamomum species of the Dutch East Indies]. Contributions à l'étude de la flore des Indes Néerlandaises 7. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique Buitenzorg, Série 3, 7: 446-496.
  • Heyne, K., 1927. De nuttige planten van Nederlandsch Indië [The useful plants of the Dutch East Indies]. 2nd edition, 3 volumes. Departement van Landbouw, Nijverheid en Handel in Nederlandsch Indië. 1953 pp. (3rd edition, 1950. van Hoeve, 's‑Gravenhage/Bandung, the Netherlands/Indonesia. 1660 pp.).
  • Kostermans, A.J.G.H., 1986. A monograph of the genus Cinnamomum Schaeff. (Lauraceae). Part 1. Ginkgoana 6: 1-171.


P.C.M. Jansen