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Calophyllum inophyllum

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Calophyllum inophyllum is a large evergreen plant, commonly called Alexandrian laurel<ref name=grin/><ref>Template:Cite book</ref> balltree,<ref name=grin/> beach calophyllum,<ref name=grin/> beach touriga,<ref name=grin/> beautyleaf,<ref name=grin/> Borneo-mahogany,<ref name=grin/> Indian doomba oiltree,<ref name=grin/> Indian-laurel,<ref name=grin/> laurelwood,<ref name=grin/> red poon,<ref name=Nature&Nation>Template:Cite book</ref> satin touriga,<ref name=grin/> and tacamahac-tree.<ref name=grin/> It is native from East Africa, southern coastal India to Malesia and Australia.



Calophyllum inophyllum is a low-branching and slow-growing tree with a broad and irregular crown. It usually reaches Template:Convert in height. The flower is Template:Convert wide and occurs in racemose or paniculate inflorescences consisting of four to 15 flowers. Flowering can occur year-round, but usually two distinct flowering periods are observed, in late spring and in late autumn. The fruit (the ballnut) is a round, green drupe reaching Template:Convert in diameter and having a single large seed. When ripe, the fruit is wrinkled and its color varies from yellow to brownish-red.

Distribution and habitat

Calophyllum inophyllum is native to Africa in: Comoros; Kenya; Madagascar; Mauritius; Mozambique; Seychelles; Tanzania (including Pemba Island of the Zanzibar Archipelago); south, southeast and east Asia in: Bangladesh;<ref>https://florafaunaweb.nparks.gov.sg/Special-Pages/plant-detail.aspx?id=2774</ref><ref>http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/1314676/সুলতান-চাঁপার-নানা-গুণ</ref> Cambodia; China (on Hainan); southern India; Andaman and Nicobar Islands Indonesia; Japan (Ryukyu Islands); Malaysia; Myanmar; Papua New Guinea; the Philippines; Sri Lanka; Taiwan; Thailand; Vietnam; the northwestern, southwestern and south central Pacific Region in: the Cook Islands; Fiji; French Polynesia (Marquesas and Society Islands); Guam; the Marshall Islands; Micronesia; the Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; and Samoa; and in Australia in: Northern Territory and Queensland.<ref name=grin/>

Heritage tree, Penaga Laut (Calophyllum inophyllum) at Singapore Botanic Gardens

Now, it is widely cultivated in all tropical regions of the world.<ref name=grin/> Because of its decorative leaves, fragrant flowers, and spreading crown, it is best known as an ornamental plant.<ref name=grin/>

This tree often grows in coastal regions, as well as nearby lowland forests. However, it has also been cultivated successfully in inland areas at moderate altitudes. It tolerates varied kinds of soil, coastal sand, clay, or even degraded soil.Template:Citation needed


Template:Refimprove section Besides being a popular ornamental plant, its wood is hard and strong and has been used in construction or boatbuilding. Traditional Pacific Islanders used Calophyllum wood to construct the keel of their canoes while the boat sides were made from breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) wood. It is sometimes used for backs and sides of entry-level acoustic guitars.

The seeds yield a thick, dark green tamanu oil for medicinal use or hair grease.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> The nuts are dried before cracking, after which the oil-laden kernel is removed and further dried. The first neoflavone isolated from natural sources (1951) was calophyllolide from C. inophyllum seeds.<ref>Neoflavones. 1. Natural Distribution and Spectral and Biological Properties. M. M. Garazd, Ya. L. Garazd and V. P. Khilya, Chemistry of Natural Compounds, Volume 39, Number 1 / janvier 2003.</ref>

The Mavilan, a Tulu-speaking tribe in north Kerala in India, use the bark to make a powder that they mix with water and apply it to plants affected by a type of plant disease caused by water that they call neeru vembu.<ref>Suresh, K. P. (2010). Indigenous Agricultural Practices among Mavilan Tribe in North Kerala.</ref>

The sap of the tree is poisonous and is used to make poison arrows in Samoa.Template:Citation needed The mature fruit is poisonous enough to use as rat bait.

The fatty acid methyl esters derived from C. inophyllum seed oil meets the major biodiesel requirements in the United States (ASTM D 6751), and European Union (EN 14214). The average oil yield is 11.7 kg-oil/tree or 4680 kg-oil/hectare. In the northwest coastal areas of Luzon island in Philippines, the oil was used for night lamps. This widespread use started to decline when kerosene became available, and later on electricity. It was also used as fuel to generate electricity to provide power for radios during World War II.

The tree is regarded as sacred in some Pacific islands because of its excellent growth in sandy soil as shade tree and many uses. The 1889 book 'The Useful Native Plants of Australia records that "During a debate on the Pearl Fisheries Bill in the Queensland Assembly, a clause was specially inserted to protect trees of this species at Thursday Island. A fine of £10 is inflicted on any person who cuts down or injures this or a cocoa-nut tree, or any other tree bearing edible fruit. This clause is, of course, in the interest of the aboriginals.".<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>



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