Nephelium ramboutan-ake (Labill.) Leenh.

Nephelium ramboutan-ake (Labill.) Leenh.




Nephelium intermedium Radlk. p.p., N. mutabile Blume.

Vernacular Names

Buah mua (Iban, Sarawak), meritam (Sabah, Sarawak), pulasan (Peninsular).
Indonesia Kapulasan, pulasan (Sundanese).
Philippines Bulala (Filipino), karayo (Tagalog), malapution (Samar-        Leyte Bisaya).
Singapore Pulasan.
Burma (Myanmar) Kyetmauk.

Geographical Distributions

Nephelium ramboutan is distributed from India (Assam), Burma (Myanmar), Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java (doubtful), Borneo and the Philippines; also planted locally and possibly indigenous in the Moluccas.


N. ramboutan is an evergreen, dioecious or sometimes monoecious, small to fairly large trees that can reach up to measure about 35(-44) m tall and it is rarely shrubs. The bole is usually fairly slender and straight or rather crooked, up to measuring 90(-140) cm in diametre, occasionally fluted and sometimes with buttresses which are up to measure about 2(-4) m high. The bark surface is smooth to slightly flaking or sometimes dippled and often lenticellate. The inner bark is brown to orange or red in colour.

The leaves are arranged spirally, paripinnate, 1-foliolate or 1-5(-18)-jugate and exstipulate. The leaflets are arranged alternate or occasionally opposite, often glaucous and with domatia below.

The flowers are in an axillary or terminal, thyrsoid inflorescence and unisexual (sometimes at least functionally so). The sepals are (4-)5(-6), which are free to connate in the lower half. The petals are 5(-6) where sometimes 1-4 are reduced or all absent. They are shorter than the sepal, clawed and with a bilobed scale inside. The disk is an entire. The male flowers are with 4-10 stamens. The female flowers are with a superior, (1-)2(-4)-locular and warty ovary with 1 ovule in each cell and 1 style.

The fruit is a 1(-3)-lobed, partly to irregularly dehiscing capsule and generally with a warty to spiny wall.

The seed is almost entirely covered by a sarcotesta. Seedling is with hypogeal germination. The cotyledons are not emergent while the hypocotyl is not elongated. The first pair of leaves is arranged opposite, paripinnate while the subsequent ones are with increasing numbers of leaflets.

Ecology / Cultivation

Timber-yielding species of Nephelium are generally found as middle storey trees in evergreen, lowland or sometimes montane, primary or sometimes secondary rain forest on hills and ridges, up to 600(-1950) m altitude. The habitat varies between species, but most are found in well-drained locations on sandy to loamy or clayey soils or on limestone, although several occur on river banks and in swamps.


Line Drawing / Photograph



    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 5 (3): Timber trees: Lesser-known timbers.