Dysoxylum alliaceum (PROSEA)

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search
Logo PROSEA.png
Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Dysoxylum alliaceum (Blume) Blume

Family: Meliaceae


  • Dysoxylum costulatum (Miquel) Miquel,
  • D. euphlebium Merrill,
  • D. thyrsoideum Hiern.
  • Dysoxylum klemmei Merr.

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: kayu bawang (Moluccas), ki bawang (Sundanese), pela (Javanese)
  • Malaysia: beka-beka bukit, kasai tembaga, kulim burong, pasak lingga merah (Peninsular)
  • Philippines: kalimutain, kuling-babui (Tagalog), paluahan (Bisaya), malaaduas, miao, paria (Filipino)
  • Thailand: ta suea khao (peninsular)
  • Vietnam: chặc khế


From the Andaman Islands and peninsular Thailand throughout the Malesian Archipelago towards northern Australia and the Solomon Islands. Possibly occurring also in South Vietnam.


All parts smell strongly of onions. Fresh young leaves are cooked with fish or other food to impart an onion flavour. The seeds in particular are used together with some juice of ginger and lemon or lime, to prepare a sauce very similar to garlic sauce, which is served with fish and other food. In the past, dried seeds that were blackened from being dried in smoke, were taken on ships as a garlic substitute. The wood is white and light; it is used on a small scale for interior construction but is not insect-resistant.


  • Tree up to 38 m tall, all parts smelling strongly of onion; trunk up to 80 cm in diameter, fluted to 4 m at base with buttresses up to 60 cm tall and projecting 1 m from the trunk.
  • Leaves paripinnate, 3-6(-8)-jugate, up to 60(-120) cm long, subcoriaceous; petiole 5-15 cm long; petiolule 0.5-2 cm long; leaflet elliptical, ovate or subfalcate, 7.5-25 cm × 2.5-7.5 cm.
  • Inflorescence a pyramidal thyrse, up to 40 cm long, branchlets bearing cymules of 1-3 sweetly scented flowers.
  • Pedicel up to 4 mm long; flowers 4-5-merous; calyx shallowly cupular, 3 mm in diameter, margin 4-toothed; petals 4-5, linear, 5-8 mm long, white or pinkish; staminal tube glabrous to puberulous, bearing 8 or 10 anthers; pistil with 3-locular ovary and terete style.
  • Infructescence up to 25 cm long; fruit a subglobose capsule, up to 7.5 cm in diameter, sometimes lobed and constricted between the seeds, red.
  • Seeds 1-4 per capsule, oblong-globose, red.

D. alliaceum occurs in rain forest, also on limestone, often in Agathis forest on peat overlying sand, up to 1800 m altitude. It is a very polymorphic species, closely related to D. excelsum Blume which occurs in the same area but whose parts never have an onion smell.

Selected sources

  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr, R.C., 1963-1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Wolters‑Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. Vol. 1 (1963), 647 pp., Vol. 2 (1965), 641 pp., Vol. 3 (1968), 761 pp.
  • 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.).
  • Flora Malesiana (various editors), 1950- . Series 1. Vol. 1, 4- . Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
  • 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.).
  • Whitmore, T.C. & Ng, F.S.P. (Editors), 1972-1989. Tree flora of Malaya. A manual for foresters. 2nd edition. 4 volumes. Malayan Forest Records No 26. Longman Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


P.C.M. Jansen