Terminalia kaernbachii (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Terminalia kaernbachii Warburg

Protologue: Bot. Jahrb. 18: 201 (1893).
Family: Combretaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= unknown


  • Terminalia okari C.T. White (1922).

Vernacular names

  • Papuasia: okari (general), galip (also used for other edible nuts such as T. impediens Coode and Canarium indicum L.), al (Usino, Madang Province).

Origin and geographic distribution

Wild populations of this species are known from many areas in Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea and from the Solomon Islands, where it is also widely cultivated; introduced to Queensland (Australia).


The palatable kernels are the largest known in the Combretaceae. They are common in markets during the fruiting season. The tree is used for timber in Papua New Guinea as red-brown terminalia, e.g. for furniture, but is seldom logged as it is excluded from timber purchases because of the value of its fruit.


The nutritional value of the fruit is not known. The fruit is one of the best flavoured tropical nuts and a favoured article of diet.

The density of the red-brown wood is about 520 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content. See also the table on wood properties.


  • A medium-sized to fairly large tree up to 35(-45) m tall with large, spreading crown, bole usually with buttresses, bark surface grey or grey-brown, inner bark purple or mauve, brown towards the cambium; twigs often massive, hairy when young, with leaves clustered towards the tips.
  • Leaves obovate-elliptical to narrowly obovate-elliptical, 12-35 cm x 5-13 cm, thick, cuneate or occasionally rounded at base, usually acute at apex, tapering at base, remaining tomentose on the main veins above and fulvous or rufous-tomentose especially on the veins below, with 10-18 pairs of secondary veins, nervation prominent beneath and depressed above, petiole 1-2 cm long.
  • Flowers in an axillary erect spike 10-12 cm long; buds globular, 8-10 mm long; calyx tube fulvous-tomentulose, lobes triangular, up to 2 mm, densely hairy; style up to 20 mm long.
  • Fruit a large, ellipsoid, slightly flattened drupe, up to 9-11 cm x 6-8 cm x 5-6 cm, coated with short reddish-brown hairs when young, red, fleshy, and glabrous when ripe, not winged, containing a massive woody stone.
  • Stone splitting on germination into two almost equal halves containing edible seed (okari nut) within. Cotyledons 3-4, thin, wrapped around each other.


Okari occurs scattered in lowland rain forest and riverine forest up to 1000 m altitude, sometimes common, but usually encountered as planted or maintained trees in forests and semi-cultivated areas.


Okari is easily raised from seed, but the seeds rapidly lose their viability. The fruits are collected from beneath the tree, or picked from the trees when ripe.


An excellent nut which has considerable potential for use as a multipurpose species: grown for the edible kernels and ultimately for the timber.


  • Coode, M.J.E., 1973. Notes on Terminalia L. in Papuasia (Combret.) Contributions from Herbarium Australiense 2: 15, 17.
  • Coode, M.J.E., 1978. Combretaceae. In: Womersley, J.S. (Editor): Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea. Vol. 1. p. 82, f. 35.
  • Exell, A.W., 1954. Combretaceae. In: van Steenis, C.G.G.J. (Editor): Flora Malesiana, Series 1. Vol. 4. p. 581, f. 28, 29.

101, 145, 162, 228, 269, 718. timbers


  • R.J. Johns