Ximenia americana (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Ximenia americana L.

Family: Olacaceae

Vernacular names

  • Tallow-wood (En)
  • Prunier de mer (Fr)
  • Indonesia and Malaysia: bedara laut
  • Philippines: bual (Tagalog)
  • Burma: pin-lay-see
  • Thailand: phutsa-tha-le (Chon Buri).


All over the tropics and subtropics.


The sour pulp of the fruit is eaten. The seed contains an oil which is used in cooking in southern India. The seeds are edible, but are purgative. The leaves are used as a condiment in Indonesia. The bark contains tannin. The wood is hard and pleasantly scented and is used as a substitute for white sandalwood.


  • Sprawling or low-branching deciduous shrub or tree, up to 10 m tall.
  • Fruit a subglobose to ellipsoid drupe, 2-3.5 cm × 1.5-3 cm, yellow-orange to scarlet.

In thickets along sea-shores, in dry savanna or forest or even in light rain forest, often on stony or sandy soils. It is a facultative root parasite. Seeds are distributed by birds and by sea currents. Numerous local forms exist.

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.
  • Corner, E.J.H., 1965. Check-list of Ficus in Asia and Australasia with keys to identification. The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 21: 1-186.
  • 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