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Aleurites moluccana (L.) Willd.

 

Aleurites moluccana (L.) Willd.

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Synonyms

Jatropha moluccana L., Aleurites triloba J.R. & G. Forst., Juglans camirium Lour.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Kemiri, kembiri, buah keras.
English Candlenut tree, Indian walnut, lumbang tree.
Indonesia

Kemiri (General), miri (General), muncang (Sundanese).

Thailand

Phothisat (Bangkok), kue-ra, purat (Peninsular), mayao (Northern).

Papua New Guinea Tutui.
Philippines

Lumbang, biaw (Cebuano).

Laos Kôk namz man.
Vietnam Lai.
French Noix des Indes, noix de Bancoul, noix des Moluques.

Geographical Distributions

The origin of Aleurites moluccana is not accurately known, but it is distributed from India and China, throughout Southeast Asia, to Polynesia and New Zealand. It has been introduced for cultivation in many tropical countries all over the world.

Description

Aleurites moluccana is a large, evergreen, monoecious tree, which can grow up to 10-40 m tall, with heavy, irregular and large-leafed crown that appears whitish or frosted from a distance due to a cover of white star-shaped hairs especially on the young parts. The stem diametre is up to 1.5 m, with grey bark and rather rough with lenticels.

The leaves are arranged alternate and simple. The stipules are small and early caducous. The petiole is up to 30 cm long and bears a pair of small and green-brown glands at the top on the upper side. The blade in young trees and suckers are subcircular in outline, measures up to 30 cm in diametre, with a cordate base and 3-5 triangular lobes. The blade in adult trees are ovate-triangular or ovate-oblong, measuring 12-23 cm x 6-12 cm, with entire or slightly sinuate margin, pointed at apex, curved and drooping and dark green with a silvery gloss.

The inflorescence is 10-20 cm long, thyrsoid and terminal or upper-axillary. The flowers are unisexual, borne on a small pedicel and white. The female flowers terminate the ultimate branchlets of the cymes while the male flowers are much more numerous, smaller, open earlier and arranged around the female flowers in bunches. The sepal is 2-3-lobed at the anthesis. There are 5 lance-shaped petals which are 6-7 mm long in male flowers and 9-10 mm in female ones. There are 5 disk glands. The male flowers are with 10-20 stamens, arranged in 3-4 series with the outer ones free and the inner ones connate whereas the female flowers are 2-4-locular, with hairy ovary and 2-4 deeply bipartite styles.

The fruit is drupaceous, laterally compressed, ovoid-spherical and 2-seeded or semi spherical and 1-seeded, measuring 5-6 cm x 4-7 cm, hairy, indehiscent and olive-green with whitish flesh. The seed is compressed-spherical and measures up to 3 cm x 3 cm. The endocarp is thick, bony and rough while the albumen is thick and rich in oil.

Ecology / Cultivation

Aleurites moluccana occurs commonly in the drier regions of Southeast Asia. In the more humid parts, it is present naturally in rather specific locations, such as well-drained sands near the coast and on limestone, but it is also found naturalised in mixed and teak forests at altitudes up to 1200 m.

Line Drawing / Photograph

Aleurites_moluccana

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References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.13: Spices.