Calophyllum inophyllum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
Introduction
List of species


Calophyllum inophyllum L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 1: 513 (1753).

Vernacular names

  • Alexandrian laurel, Borneo mahogany (En)
  • Indonesia: nyamplung (Java), dingkaran (Sulawesi)
  • Malaysia: bintangor laut, penaga laut (Peninsular), penaga (Sabah)
  • Papua New Guinea: beach calophyllum
  • Philippines: palo maria (Sp), bitaog (general)
  • Burma: ponnyet, ph'ông
  • Cambodia: khtung, kchyong
  • Thailand: krathing (general), saraphee naen (northern), naowakan (Nan)
  • Vietnam: cây mùu, mùu.

Distribution

Eastern Africa, Madagascar, islands of the Indian Ocean, India, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, Thailand, Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands, throughout Malesia, northern Australia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean; often planted within its range, in western Africa and in tropical America.

Uses

The latex and pounded bark are used in traditional medicine in many regions; they are applied externally on wounds, ulcers and to treat phthisis, orchitis and lung affections, and internally as a purgative, after childbirth and to treat gonorrhoea. In Indonesia, a cold infusion of the leaves in water is used to treat sore eyes, in the Philippines to treat haemorrhoids, and in Papua New Guinea against dysentery. Heated leaves are applied to cuts, sores, ulcers, boils and skin rash in Papua New Guinea, and the leaves are used in Cambodia in inhalations to treat migraine and vertigo. In Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Indo-China and India, the seed-oil is applied externally against rheumatism, swellings, ulcers, scabies, ringworm, boils and itch. The flowers are used as heart tonic in Thailand. C. inophyllum is used medicinally in Fiji to treat skin inflammations, in New Caledonia to treat ulcers, wounds and sores, and in Samoa to treat skin infections and scabies. It is also used to poison fish.

The timber is obtained in many places in fairly large quantities and used for many purposes: construction, furniture and cabinet work, cartwheel hubs, vessels, musical instruments, canoes and boats. The oil from the seeds is used for illumination, soap making, and medicinal purposes. The latex and pounded bark are also used medicinally. The tree is planted as ornamental and shade tree, and for reforestation and afforestation. The fruit is edible.

Observations

  • A medium-sized tree up to 25 m tall, but sometimes as large as 35 m, usually with twisted or leaning bole up to 150 cm in diameter, without buttresses; twigs 4-angled or rounded, terminal bud plump, 4-9 mm long.
  • Leaves elliptical, ovate, obovate or oblong, (5.5-)8-20(-23) cm long, rounded to cuneate at base, rounded, retuse or subacute at apex, with 4-10 veins per 5 mm.
  • Inflorescences axillary, usually unbranched but occasionally with 3-flowered branches, 5-15(-30)-flowered; flowers with 8(-13) tepals.
  • Fruit spherical to obovoid, 25-50 mm long, with fairly thin, compact outer layer, greyish-green.


C. inophyllum is often common on the seashore (sandy beaches), but is sometimes found inland on sandy soils up to 200 m altitude. The fruits are dispersed by sea currents, but also by fruit bats. The timber is generally slightly heavier, stronger and more durable than that of other Calophyllum species and the wood is often finer-textured, and the grain is more interlocked. The density is 560-800 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content. See also the table on wood properties.

Selected sources

1, 33, 35, 100, 102, 175, 190, 318, 359, 461, 484, 534, 578, 579, 648, 779. timbers

121, 173, 334, 347, 401, 671, 722, 760, 772, 813, 878, 885, 891, 915. medicinals

Main genus page

Authors

  • R.H.M.J. Lemmens