Burckella obovata (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Burckella obovata (Forster f.) Pierre

Protologue: Not. bot. Sapot.: 4 (1890).
Family: Sapotaceae


  • Bassia obovata J.G. Forster (1786),
  • Burckella cocco (R. Scheffer) Pierre (1890),
  • B. cocco var. bawun H.J. Lam.
  • Croixia obovata (J.G. Forster) Baehni (1965).

Vernacular names

  • Red silkwood (En)
  • Indonesia: sawo seberang (Java), kaum, koko (Irian Jaya), balam (Moluccas)
  • Papua New Guinea: burckella (general), evatnari, natu (New Ireland).


The Moluccas, New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands; locally cultivated in home gardens for the fruits in its area of distribution and also in Java.


The fruit is said to be delicious. The timber is used for light construction, furniture, interior fittings, flooring, moulding and veneer, and locally also for poles of houses and canoes.


  • A medium-sized to fairly large tree up to 36 m tall, with columnar or tapering bole up to 100 cm in diameter, buttresses plank-like, up to 2 m high.
  • All parts with milky sap.
  • Leaves simple, crowded at the top of the twigs, broadly obovate to obovate or elliptical, 10-30(-40) cm × 5-13 cm, glabrous, petiole up to 4(-7.5) cm long; pedicels up to 2.5 cm long.
  • Flowers 40-60 together, white.
  • Fruit a globose to obovoid berry, 7-10 cm × 5-8 cm, 4-5-furrowed, light green, flesh white.
  • Seed solitary, 4-6.5 cm long.

The wood is pinkish-brown to reddish-brown and has a density of about 730 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content.

B. obovata occurs in lowland forest, often in coastal rain forest and in home gardens.

Selected sources

  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink, R.C., 1963 1968. Flora of Java. 3 Volumes. Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands.
  • Heyne, K., 1927. De nuttige planten van Nederlandsch Indië [The useful plants of the Dutch East Indies]. 2nd ed. 3 Volumes. Departement van Landbouw, Nijverheid en Handel in Nederlandsch Indië. 1953 pp.
  • Lam, H.J. & van Royen, P., 1952. Revision of the Sapotaceae of the Malaysian area in a wider sense. 2. Burckella Pierre. Blumea 6: 580-593.
  • Peekel, P.G., 1984. Flora of the Bismarck Archipelago for naturalists. Office of Forests, Division of Botany, Lae, Papua New Guinea. 638 pp.

12, 36, 37, 145, 164, 229, 234, 289, 343, 345, 491, 673, 699, 706. timbers


  • P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jukema, L.P.A. Oyen, T.G. van Lingen