Herbs & Plants

Xylocarpus granatum

Botanical Name: Xylocarpus granatum
Family: Meliaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Xylocarpus
Species: X. granatum

Common Names: Dhundul, Cannonball mangrove, Cedar mangrove, or Puzzlenut tree,

Xylocarpus granatum is native to the tropical and sub-tropical western Indo-Pacific region. Its range extends from Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique (in which it is one of ten mangrove species) to India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, northern Australia and Papua New Guinea; it grows in the higher intertidal zone and is found in estuaries and lining the banks of creeks.

Xylocarpus granatum is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree, growing to a maximum height of 12 m (39 ft). The trunk has buttresses and above-ground roots which extend for long distances to either side. The bark is brown and smooth, and comes away in flakes. The leaves are pinnate and arranged spirally on the twigs; they have two to four pairs of leaflets and are pale green when young and darken with age. The inflorescence grows in a short panicle in the axil of a leaf or at the end of the shoot. The individual flowers are 8 mm (0.3 in) wide, with parts in fours, and are white or pinkish-yellow. They are followed by large, spherical, woody capsules, 9 to 12 cm (4 to 5 in) in diameter, which split open to reveal up to a dozen seeds. The common name “puzzlenut tree” derives from the irregular shape of the seeds: a puzzle can be made of shuffling the seeds and attempting to reassemble them into the original spherical arrangement.


A plant of the wet lowland tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 – 30°c, but can tolerate 10 – 40°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 – 3,000mm, but tolerates 1,400 – 5,000mm.
Grows best in a sunny position, tolerating light shade, especially when small. Succeeds in sandy to clayey soils, preferring fertile conditions. Tolerant of quite high levels of salt in the soil. Plants are tolerant of seasonally inundated soils. Prefers a pH in the range 6.8 – 7.2, tolerating 6.5 – 7.5.
The tree recovers easily after the bark has been harvested by peeling it from the trunks.
The trees often produce basal suckers when they are damaged, and plants can sometimes develop several trunks. The roots frequently extend for a considerable distance through the mud.

Flowers are functionally unisexual, male flowers having a non-functional, rather slender ovary, female flowers having non-functional stamens either never dehiscent or with sterile pollen. It has been observed that certain individuals, although flowering profusely, never produce fruit; this suggests that dioecism sometimes occurs.
The corky testa of the seed represents an adaption to dispersal by water, and seeds may start to germinate while still floating.

Through Seed – after falling from the parent plant, they float just below the water surface and are dispersed by ocean currents. Seed viability decreases rapidly upon storage. Seeds should be sown with the convex side upwards. They show about 70% germination in 4 – 10 weeks. Seedlings can attain 50cm height in 3 months.

Direct sowing has been successfully applied in a trial plantation.

Edible Uses: The peel from the fruits is added to soups.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruit is used to treat swellings of the breast and elephantiasis. A decoction of the crushed fruits is drunk as an aphrodisiac.
The dried fruit peel is used as an appetizer.The astringent bark has some medicinal uses. It is reported to cure dysentery, diarrhoea and other abdominal troubles, and is also used as a febrifuge.The seeds have been burned, then mixed with sulphur and coconut oil to make a remedy against itchy skin

Other Uses:
The bark is a fairly rich source of tannins, containing 20 – 34% on a dry matter basis. It is used for strengthening rope that needs to be used in the water.
The bark is sometimes used to dye cloth brown. A dark-red dye is obtained from the bark.

A resin is obtained from the tree.A whitish, semi-solid oil is obtained from the seed. This becomes fluid at higher temperatures. The oil is used in India for burning, and in some places as a hair oil.

The heartwood is reddish-brown, clearly demarcated from the thin band of whitish sapwood. The grain is straight to slightly crossed, the texture fine and glossy.The wood is very hard, moderately heavy, strong and durable, it is rarely, if ever, attacked by beetles, but is not resistant to termites. The wood shrinks little and is usually easy to work and finish; it takes a high polish. A good mahogany-like timber, but as the trunk is usually crooked and hollow, long straight pieces often cannot be cut. It is used for making small objects such as pins, tool handles etc, and house posts. When large enough pieces are available they are used for boat-building and construction as well as for good quality furniture. Larger pieces, when available, provide one of the best and most beautiful timbers in the Philippines.
The wood is also used for firewood. It produces a great heat but burns very quickly, so other sources are generally preferred

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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