Xanthophyllum obscurum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Xanthophyllum obscurum A.W. Bennett

Family: Polygalaceae


  • Xanthophyllum insigne A.W. Benn.,
  • Xanthophyllum scortechinii King.

Vernacular names Malaysia: , lemak berok, mengkapas (Peninsular). Distribution Peninsular Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra and Borneo.

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: buah kapas (Malay)
  • Malaysia: lima berok, lemak berok, mengkapas (Peninsular), buah kapas.


Indonesia (Sumatra, Kalimantan), Malaysia, Thailand (peninsular).


The pulp around the seeds is edible. The timber is hard but probably not durable.


  • Tree, up to 47 m tall and 70 cm trunk diameter.
  • Fruit a globose berry, up to 14 cm diameter, dull pinkish-brown with numerous small dark spots; pericarp up to 2 cm thick.
  • Seeds 8-16 with thick soft fibrous testa.

In rain forests, rather common in Peninsular Malaysia.

Selected sources

  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. 2nd ed. 2 Volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2444 pp.
  • Heyne, K., 1927. De nuttige planten van Nederlandsch Indië [The useful plants of the Dutch East Indies]. 2nd ed. 3 Volumes. Departement van Landbouw, Nijverheid en Handel in Nederlandsch Indië. 1953 pp.
  • 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.


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