Pouteria obovata (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Pouteria obovata (R.Br.) Baehni

Protologue: Candollea 9: 324 (1942).


  • Sideroxylon ferrugineum Hook. & Arnott (1841),
  • Planchonella obovata (R.Br.) Pierre (1890).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: nyatu karikit (Sumatra), jengkok (Java), nyatoh gambir (Kalimantan)
  • Malaysia: nyatoh laut (general), menasi, misi (Peninsular), umas umas (Sabah)
  • Philippines: mangkas (Sulu), banasi (Tagalog), bungalong (Iloko)
  • Cambodia: rom denh
  • Thailand: chan thit so (general), phang ka bok (peninsular), nga sai (Songkhla, Surat Thani)
  • Vietnam: mộc, cây trứng gà.


Throughout southern Asia, from India, Pakistan and the Seychelles, through Indo-China, southern China and Malesia to the Solomon Islands and north-eastern Australia.


The timber is used as nyatoh or bitis. It is suitable for carving and cabinet making, and also for turned articles; sometimes it is used for house-posts, and for salt-water piling. The bark is chewed against sprue and a decoction of the leaves relieves stomachache; leaves are used as a poultice against lumbago.


  • A tree of various dimension, from small (10 m) to medium-sized (30 m) or sometimes even up to 40 m tall; bole varying from crooked and gnarled to straight and branchless for over 10 m (and then usually with plank buttresses).
  • Leaves evenly distributed, usually obovate but sometimes elliptical-lanceolate, with distinct reticulate tertiary venation, usually velvety beneath, but often glabrescent.
  • Flowers in 1-20-flowered clusters in axils of leaves, borne on 2-10 mm long pedicels, white to greenish.
  • Fruit obovoid or subglobose, 1-1.5 cm long, glabrous, whitish-yellow, red or blue.

P. obovata is highly variable and grows on rocky and sandy sea coasts and on the landward side of mangroves, but also on limestone hills and in mixed forest, up to 400 m altitude. The variability is also present in the wood: the recorded density ranges from 560 to 1220 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content; the wood is reported as durable (the Philippines) and not durable (Indonesia) and it is pale yellow.

Selected sources

35, 36, 89, 100, 102, 235, 318, 480, 486, 579, 581, 732, 779.

Main genus page


  • R.H.M.J. Lemmens (selection of species)