Canarium asperum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Canarium asperum Benth.

Protologue: Hook.f., Journ. Bot., Lond. 2: 215 (1843).


  • Canarium villosum Benth. & Hook.f. ex Fernandez-Villar (1880),
  • Canarium zollingeri Engl. (1883),
  • Canarium unifoliolatum Merr. (1921).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: damar jahat (Sulawesi), damar itam (Ambon), kessi (Sumbawa)
  • Philippines: pagsahingin (Filipino), sulusalungan (Bisaya), anteng (Iloko).


The Philippines, Borneo, Sulawesi, the Lesser Sunda Islands (including Bawean and Kangean Islands), the Moluccas, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


The wood is used as kedondong, e.g. for temporary constructions, boxes, crates and veneer. The resin has been used for fuel and lighting, for caulking boats, and for painting hats. It is known locally in the Philippines as "sahing". This species also yields tannin.


  • A medium-sized to fairly large tree up to 35 m tall, bole straight, cylindrical, branchless for up to 16 m, up to 100 cm in diameter, with prominent buttresses, bark surface pale grey.
  • Stipules subpersistent to caducous, narrow; leaves with 1-13 leaflets, leaflets with tapering to acute or bluntly acuminate apex, margin entire but serrulate to dentate in young plants, glabrous to pilose on the midrib above and the veins below, with (7-)12-15(-20) pairs of secondary veins.
  • Inflorescence spicate to narrowly paniculate.
  • Flowers 3-7 mm long, stamens 6.
  • Fruit ovoid to subglobose, circular to slightly trigonous in cross section, 9-14 mm × 4-11 mm, glabrous.

This highly variable species is divided into 2 subspecies: subsp. asperum and subsp. papuanum (H.J. Lam) Leenh. (synonym: Canarium papuanum H.J. Lam). The former is further divided into 2 varieties: var. asperum and var. clementis (Merr.) Leenh. (synonyms: Canarium clementis Merr., Canarium leytense Elmer, Canarium wenzelii Merr.). The various taxa are mainly distinguished by the type of inflorescence. C. asperum is common and occurs in a wide variety of habitats, from dry to wet forest, sometimes in open forest or even savanna, up to 500(-1800) m altitude. The density of the wood is 495-635 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content.

Selected sources

68, 77, 99, 125, 162, 342, 366, 369, 527, 528.


M.S.M. Sosef (selection of species)

Main genus page