Cordia subcordata (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Cordia subcordata Lamk

Protologue: Tabl. encycl. 1: 421 (1891).


Cordia orientalis R.Br. (1810), Cordia moluccana Roxb. (1824), Cordia rumphii Blume (1826).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: salimuli (general), klimasada (Java), kanawa (Moluccas)
  • Papua New Guinea: kerosene wood, island walnut, cordia (general)
  • Philippines: balu, banago (general), koring-korong (Palawan)
  • Thailand: rampon.


From eastern Africa towards India, Indo-China, Hainan and Thailand, and throughout the Malesian area to the Pacific.


The wood is used for light construction, beams and posts, wharves, cabinets, furniture, musical instruments, scabbards, tools, carvings, and fancy articles; also for veneer. It is used for fuel in the Solomon Islands. In Polynesia, young leaves are sometimes chewed together with betel nut. The tree is also planted in gardens and is especially suitable for courts.


A small to medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall, bole often crooked, branchless for up to 8 m, up to 70 cm in diameter, bark shallowly fissured and flaky, brown or grey; corolla 3-4.3 cm long, orange, with 6 or 7 lobes; fruit tightly enclosed in an enlarged calyx. C. subcordata is fairly common in secondary forest and thickets along the sea shore. The larger boles often develop heart rot. The wood is reported to burn fast and can easily be ignited by rubbing 2 pieces of wood together, hence the Papuan name kerosene wood. The density of the wood is 470-650 kg/m3at 15% moisture content.

Selected sources

77, 78, 99, 115, 203, 218, 229, 234, 261, 273, 409, 463, 465, 526, 527, 654, 705.

W.C. Wong (general part, properties, selection of species),

S. Sudo (wood anatomy)