Excoecaria agallocha (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Excoecaria agallocha L.

Protologue: Syst. nat., ed. 10, 2: 1288 (1759) & Sp. pl. ed. 2: 1451 (1763).


  • Excoecaria camettia Willd. (1805),
  • Excoecaria affinis Endl. (1833),
  • Stillingia agallocha (L.) Baillon (1858).

Vernacular names

  • Blind-your-eyes, milky mangrove (En)
  • Indonesia: kayu buta-buta (Indonesian), kayu betah (Javanese), menengan (Java, Bali)
  • Malaysia: buta-buta (general), bebuta (Peninsular)
  • Papua New Guinea: sismet (Manus Island), te'eria (Korina, Central Province), su (Madang Province)
  • Philippines: buta-buta (Tagalog, Pilipino), lipata (Bikol, Bisaya, Tagalog)
  • Burma (Myanmar): kayaw taway
  • Thailand: buu-to (peninsular), tatum thale (central)
  • Vietnam: giá, trà mủ


Along the coasts of southern India and Sri Lanka to Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, China, Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands, Thailand, throughout the Malesian region, northern Australia and the Pacific.


In the Philippines, the latex is used as a caustic for obstinate ulcers. Oil extracted by distillation of the wood or latex is applied to cutaneous diseases. Chewing a little piece of bark will cause instant vomiting and purging, but is in general considered too drastic a cure for constipation. The roots pounded with ginger may serve as an embrocation to reduce swellings on hands and feet. In Milne Bay, New Guinea, the root is applied as an abortifacient. In the Central Province, very small amounts of the juice are taken orally with coconut juice to treat pneumonia or asthma. It may also be taken as a purgative or vomitory, thereby acting as a poison antidote. A decoction of the leaves is given in epilepsy and externally applied to ulcers. The latex is an adjunct to Antiaris toxicaria Lesch. sap in making dart poison. In Thailand, the resin is used as an anthelmintic, for its purgative effect.


  • A shrub or tree up to 15(-20) m tall.
  • Leaves spirally arranged, ovate or elliptical, 3-9 cm √ó 2-5 cm, apex shortly blunt acuminate, margins crenulate-serrate.
  • Inflorescence unisexual, male inflorescence densely spicate, almost catkin-like when young.
  • Fruit a capsule, tricoccous, lobed, about 1 cm in diameter, borne in short racemes.

Common in mangrove forest, tidal thickets and freshwater swamp forest up to 100(-400) m altitude.

Selected sources


  • 32. Airy Shaw, H.K., 1975. The Euphorbiaceae of Borneo. Kew Bulletin Additional Series IV. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, United Kingdom. 245 pp.33, 34, 36, 74, 82, 90, 128,
  • 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.

215, 286, 351, 407

  • Holdsworth, D.K., 1977. Medicinal plants of Papua New Guinea. Technical Paper No 175. South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 123 pp., 431, 450, 505, 509, 554, 555, 654, 666, 769, 786, 788, 828, 915, 1008. medicinals


  • J.L.C.H. van Valkenburg