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Antiaris toxicaria Lesch.

Antiaris toxicaria Lesch.




Antiaris macrophylla R.Br., Antiaris africana Engl., Antiaris welwitschii Engl.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Ipoh (Peninsular), tasem (Sarawak).
English Upas tree, sacking tree.
Indonesia Upas (General), ancar (Javanese), tatai (Sumatra).
Thailand Yang nong (Central, Northern), yuan (Peninsular).
Philippines Dalit (Tagalog), ipo (Tagalog, Bisaya).
Burma (Myanmar) Aseik, hymaseik.
Laos 'nong2, nong.
Vietnam C[aa]y sui, thu[oos]c b[aws]n.
Papua New Guinea Antiaris.

Geographical Distributions

Antiaris is a monotypic genus. The only species, Antiaris toxicaria is found throughout the Old World tropics, from West Africa to Madagascar, and in Sri Lanka, India, Indo-China, southern China, Thailand, throughout the Malesian region, the Pacific (east to Fiji and Tonga), and northern Australia.


A. toxicaria is a monoecious, small to large tree that can reach up to 45(-60) m tall. The bole is straight and measuring up to 180 cm in diametre. It sometimes with steep buttresses that can reach up to 3 m high.

The bark surface is smooth, slightly fissured later and greyish-white. The inner bark is soft and fibrous, exuding creamy copious latex which soon darkens to dirty brown and becomes granular upon exposure. The twigs are hairy.

The leaves are arranged alternately, distichous, rounded to slightly heart-shaped, ovate or oblong, measuring 7.5-20 cm x 3.5-8.5 cm, simple, slightly unequal at the base and entire to denticulate. The petiole is 0.2-1 cm long and hairy. The stipules are free and caducous.

The inflorescence is on a short shoot, in leaf axils or below the leaves, subtended by involucral bracts and solitary or in groups of 2-4. The male ones are below the female ones which are on the same twig. The male inflorescence is a stalked discoid head with many flowers. Each flower is with 2-7 tepals and 2-4 stamens. The female inflorescence is with 1-2 flowers, sessile or stalked. The flower is pear-shaped while the perianth is 4-lobed. The ovary is adnate to the perianth, 1-locular with a single ovule and 2 styles.

The fruit forms a drupaceous whole together with the enlarged and fleshy receptacle. It is ellipsoidal to pear-shaped and velvety. There is one seed and fleshy cotyledon. The seedling is hypogeal germination. The epicotyl is with a few scale leaves and followed by spirally arranged, conduplicate and dentate leaves.

Ecology / Cultivation

A. toxicaria is rare, scattered tree in primary forests up to 1500 m altitude. Occasionally, it is found in grassy savanna and on coastal plateaus. The morphological variation as observed in habit and various parts of the plant may will be linked to environmental factors. In Africa, it occurs under semi-arid conditions as well as in rainforest areas, or even in swamp forests.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1.

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