Canarium indicum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Canarium indicum L.

Protologue: Amoen. Acad. 4: 143 (1759).
Family: Burseraceae


  • Canarium mehenbethene Gaertner (1791),
  • Canarium zephyrinum Duchesne (1836),
  • Canarium moluccanum Blume (1850),
  • Canarium amboinense Hochr. (1904).
  • C. commune L.,

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: kenari ambon (Sundanese), kanari ternate (northern Sulawesi), kanari bagea (Moluccas), jal (Ambon)
  • Papua New Guinea: red canarium (general), galip (Pidgin), lawele (New Britain), hinuei (New Ireland).


Indonesia (Sulawesi, Moluccas, Irian Jaya), Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and surrounding islands. It is often cultivated, especially in Melanesia and sometimes elsewhere.


In Melanesia the seeds are highly esteemed as a food. Oil from the seeds is used as a substitute for coconut oil. The wood is used as kedondong, especially for light construction, mouldings, interior finish, and as a firewood.


  • A medium-sized to fairly large tree up to 40 m tall, bole usually short, branchless for up to 10(-26) m, up to 100 cm in diameter, with buttresses up to 1 m high, bark surface smooth to scaly and dippled, grey or brownish-grey to yellow-brown, inner bark laminated, reddish-brown to pinkish-brown, exuding a milky resin; stipules persistent, rarely inserted on the petiole, ovate to oblong, large and prominently dentate.
  • Leaves with 7-15 leaflets, leaflets with apex gradually to distinctly acuminate, margin entire, glabrous, with (8-)10-15(-20) pairs of secondary veins which are slightly sunken above and prominent below.
  • Inflorescence terminal, broadly paniculate; male flowers c. 10 mm long, female ones up to 15 mm long, stamens 6.
  • Infructescences large with up to 30 fruits.
  • Fruit an ovoid drupe, 3-6 cm × 2-3 cm, circular to slightly triangular in cross-section, glabrous.
  • Seed usually 1.

Two varieties have been distinguished. Var. platycerioideum Leenh. differs from var. indicum in having larger leaflets and larger fruits and is rare in Irian Jaya. C. indicum occurs naturally in primary and secondary rain forest, up to 500(-1850) m altitude, and cultivated up to 600 m. Flowering mainly from October to December, fruiting from July to December. The density of the wood is 500-650 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content. See also the table on wood properties.

Selected sources

  • van Steenis, C.G.G.J. et al. (Editors), 1950-. Flora Malesiana. Series 1. Vol. 1, 4-10. Centre for Research and Development in Biology, Bogor, Indonesia, and Rijksherbarium, Leiden, the Netherlands. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Boston, London.

60, 145, 154, 162, 330, 342, 366, 673. timbers


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

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