Dracontomelon dao (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Dracontomelon dao (Blanco) Merr. & Rolfe

Protologue: Philipp. Journ. Sci., Bot. 3: 108 (1908).
Family: Anacardiaceae


  • Dracontomelon mangiferum (Blume) Blume (1850),
  • Dracontomelon sylvestre Blume (1850),
  • Dracontomelon puberulum Miq. (1861),
  • Dracontomelon edule (Blanco) Skeels (1912).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: dahu, dau (Java), singkuang (Kalimantan), dar, basuong (Irian Jaya)
  • Malaysia: sengkuang (Peninsular, Sabah), unkawang (Sarawak), sarunsab (Dusun, Sabah)
  • Papua New Guinea: New Guinea walnut (general), mon (Pidgin)
  • Philippines: dao (general), peldao, maliyan (Tagalog)
  • Thailand: ka-kho, sang-kuan (peninsular), phrachao ha phra ong (Chiang Mai).


India, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Cambodia, southern China, thoughout the Malesian area towards the Solomon Islands. Sometimes planted in villages.


D. dao is the main source of dao timber (see genus page). The timber is soft, moderately heavy, not very durable but used for veneers, furniture, boxes, matches. The tree is planted as an ornamental in roadside plantings. The fruit is edible but considered inferior and eaten mostly by children; the kernel of the seed is also edible. Locally, flowers and leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable (Papua New Guinea), and they may also be used as food flavouring (the Moluccas), or medicinally (e.g. in Papua New Guinea). The bark is occasionally used in traditional medicine against dysentery (e.g. in Malaysia) or to provoke abortion.


  • A large deciduous tree up to 45(-55) m tall, bole branchless for up to 20(-25) m, up to 100(-150) cm in diameter, with narrow buttresses up to 6 m high, bark surface irregularly scaly, greyish-brown with brown or greenish patches, inner bark pink to red.
  • Leaf rachis 6-25(-44) cm long, leaflets (7-)9-19, alternate to opposite, 4.5-20(-27) cm × 2-7(-10.5) cm, glabrous or sometimes pubescent below, with hairy domatia.
  • Flowers 7-10 mm long, whitish, in panicles of up to 50 cm long, disk puberulous.
  • Fruit a globose drupe, ca. 4 cm in diameter, dingy brown, 5-celled.

D. dao occurs in primary or secondary evergreen to semi-deciduous forest in areas with high rainfall or less frequently in areas with a short dry season where it is deciduous or partly so. It is found scattered on clayey to stony soils, at 0-500(-1000) m altitude. The density of the wood is (330-)370-790 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content. See also the table on wood properties.

Selected sources

  • Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam (various authors), 1960-. Vol. 1-24. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
  • 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, 62, 68, 69, 77, 78, 104, 125, 145, 162, 163, 176, 192, 225, 234, 261, 266, 271, 272, 278, 303, 330, 331, 334, 404, 453, 465, 526, 527, 544, 574, 595, 607, 655, 660, 703, 705, 709, 711, 727, 728, 731. timbers


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