Botanical Name: Xylocarpus mekongensis
Species: X. granatum
Synonyms: Carapa borneensis, Carapa mekongensis, Carapa moluccensis, Carapa obovata, Xylocarpus australiasicus, Xylocarpus gangeticus, Xylocarpus mekongensis, Xylocarpus parvifolius.
Common Names: Pashur, Nyireh batu, Cannonball mangrove, Cedar mangrove, or Puzzlenut tree
Xylocarpus mekongensis 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 20 – 35°c, but can tolerate 7 – 40°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,500 – 5,000mm, but tolerates 1,600 – 6,000mm.
Grows best in a sunny position. Succeeds in a fertile soil that can range from sandy to clayey. Tolerates high levels of salt in the soil. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 – 7, tolerating 5.5 – 7.5.Tolerant of salt-laden winds.
The trees often produce basal suckers when they are damaged, and plants can sometimes develop several trunks.
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.
Propagation: Through seeds.
Edible Uses: The peel from the fruits is added to soups.
The fruit is used as a treatment for swellings of the breast and for elephantiasis.
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 seed kernels are used as a bitter tonic.
The seed ash, mixed with sulphur and coconut oil, is used as an ointment to treat itch.
The bark is a fairly rich source of tannins. It is used for strengthening rope that needs to be used in the water.
The bark is sometimes used to dye cloth brown.
An oil obtained from the seed is used as an illuminant.
The brown wood is very hard, strong and durable. 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.
The wood is also used for firewood.
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.