Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Müll.Arg. - EUPHORBIACEAE

Basionym : Croton philippense Lam.

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Botanical descriptions Habitat and ecology Distribution

Botanical descriptions :

Diagnostic characters : Evergreen trees, bole often fluted. Young twigs minute red-brown hairs. Exudate watery, pinkish-red. Leaves with scattered stellate hairs below, base with extra-floral nectaries on lamina below near petiole insertion. Flowers unisexual on different trees. Fruit a lobed capsule covered with red powdery glands. Seeds ovoid black with small red aril.
Habit : Evergreen tree up to 12 m tall.
Trunk & bark : Bole straight, often fluted, bark pale grey, smooth when young.
Branches and branchlets or twigs : Twigs terete, glabrous or covered with minute red-brown hairs.
Exudates : Exudate not found but could be watery, pinkish-red.
Leaves : Leaves simple, alternate and spiral, with minute red glandular hairs below, elliptic to narrowly ovate, apex acuminate, base acute with 2 glands, margin entire.
3 primary prominent basal veins present, midrib flat above, secondary veins oblique, widely parallel, tertiary veins horizontal.
Stipules present, small, falling off early.
Inflorescences or flowers : Flowers arranged in a many-flowered inflorescence, terminal, unisexual, on the same tree, pedicels up to 3 mm long.
Fruits : Fruit up to 0.9 cm in diameter, capsule splitting into 3 sections, with powdery red glands.
Seeds : Seeds 3, black covered by a small red aril.

Habitat and ecology :

Common in secondary growth.

Distribution :

India, China (South), Malesia to Australia, Melanesia, Japan (Ryukyu), Thailand, Indochina, Laos (Khammouan).

Remark/notes/uses :
The granular out part of the fruits is used as a dye producing a bright yellow-orange colour, and medicinally as a vermifuge. The leaves provide fodder.

Specimens studied :
BT 406, BT 809, BT 1091 (Herbarium of Faculty of Sciences-NUoL, NHN-Leiden and CIRAD-Montpellier).

Literature :
Gardner S., Sidisunthorn P. & Anusarnsunthorn V. 2000. A field guide to Forest Trees of Northern Thailand. Kobfai Publishing Project. Bangkok. Thailand.

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