Caesalpinia bonduc (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Caesalpinia bonduc (L.) Roxb.

Protologue: Fl. ind. (Carey ed.), 2: 362 (1832), p.p. excl. pl. descr.


  • Guilandina bonduc L. (1753),
  • Caesalpinia bonducella (L.) Fleming (1810).

Vernacular names

  • Bonduc nut, fever nut (En)
  • Indonesia: kemrunggi (Javanese), areuy mata hiyang (Sundanese), kate-kate (Ternate)
  • Papua New Guinea: kurere (Garara, Oro Province)
  • Philippines: kalumbibit (Tagalog), sabinit (Bikol), singor (Iloko)
  • Thailand: waat (peninsular)
  • Vietnam: móc mèo, vuốt hùm.


C. bonduc is a pantropical species. It is found throughout Malesia, although it is noticeably scarce in the rain forest areas of Sumatra, Borneo, the Philippines and western New Guinea.


In the Philippines, the seeds are used to soothe stomach disorders and as a mild purgative. Administered in powder form they are considered a febrifuge and tonic. In Thailand, the leaves are considered carminative, and are used in the treatment of abnormal urination. The leaves are also an ingredient of a famous cough formula. In Indonesia, the leaves or pounded seeds are employed as an anthelmintic. In Papua New Guinea, a decoction of the leaves is prescribed as an antidepressant for mentally disturbed persons. In large doses the plant is believed to be poisonous. In Fiji, the young leaves are also employed as an anthelmintic for children. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat sinusitis, and of the roots for fatigue. In India, the leaves and bark are considered emmenagogue, febrifuge and anthelmintic. The seed has a reputation as a tonic and antipyretic.


  • A liana up to 15 m long, branchlets usually armed.
  • Leaves paripinnate, rachis 15-80 cm long, with 6-11 pairs of pinnae, pinna 8-20 cm long, stipules pinnately or 3-5-lobed, up to 20 mm long, subpersistent, leaflets opposite to subopposite, 6-9(-12) pairs per pinna, base rounded, apex rounded to acute.
  • Raceme or panicle supra-axillary or terminal, 30-60 cm long.
  • Flowers unisexual, sepals 7-10 mm × 2-3 mm, petals 7-10 mm × 2-3 mm, clawed, ovary with 2 ovules.
  • Pod 6.5-9 cm × 3.5-4.5 cm, covered with long hairy spines, 1-2 seeded, dehiscent.
  • Seed ovoid, smooth, grey.

C. bonduc can be found in a variety of coastal habitats, including back mangal, especially in disturbed sites, but also occurs inland chiefly in secondary forest up to 800 m altitude. C. bonduc and C. major are often confused or misidentified.

Selected sources

  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1 (A-H) pp. 1-1240, Vol. 2 (I-Z) pp. 1241-2444.

143, 256, 407, 585, 637, 789, 790, 810, 867, 1008, 1038.


B. Ibnu Utomo