Calophyllum inophyllum seeds mature in November, is a large evergreen, commonly called Alexandrian laurel balltree, beach calophyllum, beach touriga, beautyleaf, Borneo-mahogany, Indian doomba oiltree, Indian-laurel, laurelwood, red poon, satin touriga, and tacamahac-tree 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 8 to 20 metres (26 to 66 ft) in height. The flower is 25 millimetres (0.98 in) wide and occurs in racemose or paniculate inflorescences consisting of 4 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 2 to 4 centimetres (0.79 to 1.57 in) in diameter and having a single large seed. When ripe, the fruit is wrinkled and its color varies from yellow to brownish-red.
Calophyllum inophyllum seeds
- Besides being a popular ornamental plant, its wood is hard and strong and has been used in construction or boatbuilding.
The seeds yield a thick, dark green tamanu oil for medicinal use or hair grease. Active ingredients in the oil are believed to regenerate tissue, so is sought after by cosmetics manufacturers as an ingredient in skin cremes.
The leaves are also used for skin care in Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Samoa. In Fiji and Lingua the leaves are also soaked in water and used for eye inflammations.
In Cambodia, the leaves are inhaled as a treatment for migraines and vertigo.
The bark can be used as a treatment for disease-affected plants. T
The sap of the tree is poisonous and is used to make poison arrows in Samoa. The mature fruit is poisonous enough to use as rat bait.
The fatty acid methyl ester of Calophyllum 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
The tree is regarded as sacred in some Pacific islands because of its excellent growth in sandy soil as shade tree and many uses.
In the northwest coastal areas of Luzon island in Philippines, the oil was used for night lamps. It creates a relaxing aroma.
It was also used as fuel to generate electricity to provide power for radios during World War II.