Herbs & Plants

Calophyllum brasiliense

Botanical Name: Calophyllum brasiliense
Family: Calophyllaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Calophyllum
Species: C. brasiliense

*Calophyllum antillanum Britton.
*Calophyllum calaba Jacq.
*Calophyllum ellipticum Rusby Calophyllum ja

Common Names: Landim, Olandim, Landi, Cedro do Pântano, Guanandi-Cedro (Brazil), Arary, Ocure, Cachicamo, Balsamaria, Aceite Mario, Palomaria or Pallomaria, Brazil beauty leaf (Brazilian pretty leaf) and even of Alexander Laurel, or crown of parrots of Alexander, for the beauty of its leaves.

It is very common in Brazil, from Santa Catarina to Pará, and also in Pantanal and Amazon forest; also common in Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. It occurs between sea level and 1200 meters, many times in pure stands (this capacity in uncommon in tropical hardwood trees). Its natural dispersion occurs by water and fishes, monkeys and mainly by bats.

Calophyllum brasiliense is an evergreen tree growing to 20–50 m tall, with a trunk up to 1.8 m diameter, and a dense, rounded crown. The leaves are opposite, 6.3–12.5 cm long and 3.2–6.3 cm broad, elliptic to oblong or obovate, leathery, hairless, glossy green above, paler below, with an entire margin. The flowers are 10–13 mm diameter, with four white sepals (two larger, and two smaller), and one to four white petals smaller than the sepals; the flowers are grouped in panicles 2.5–9 cm long. The flowers are scented and are polinated by insects. The fruit is a globular drupe 25–30 mm diameter.


Brazil beauty leaf grows in the moister lowland and lower montane areas of the tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 – 30°c, but can tolerate 15 – 38°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 – 6,000mm, but tolerates 1,200 – 7,000mm. Succeeds in full sun or partial shade. A very tolerant plant, it occurs in nearly all the soil types. It seems to grow best on wet, humid, sites, but also grows well on pure sand and rock sandstone. In Puerto Rico, it occurs naturally on the north coast on sandy soils of the orders inceptisols, oxisols and alfisols. It has been planted on deep clays and serpentine soils in the mountains, and in shallow limestone soils near the coast. It does well on degraded sites, and is very resistant to salt and salt-laden winds. Established plants are very drought tolerant. Some trees bear fruit when only 3 years old.

Through seeds – the tough endocarp inhibits water uptake and so germination will be hastened if this is broken with a hammer prior to sowing. Fresh seeds can be sown in situ directly into the soil, or in a seedbed. Average germination is about 70%. Seedlings transplant successfully when they are moved with a ball of earth, a task best carried out in the rainy season. Seeds stored for 1 year in a dry room have germinated fairly well. Fruits should not be stored at a temperature below 0°c., and the water content of the fruit should not be lower than 35%.

Edible Uses: Not known.

Medicinal Uses:
The resin obtained from the crushed or cut bark, called bals’mo de mar’a, has been used medicinally. A decoction of the trunk bark, combined with the root-bark of Coutarea hexandra, is used as an antidiabetic and vermifuge. The plant (part not specified) is used to dress sores, and as a headache remedy. The plant contains xanthones, including guanandine, isoguanandine and jacareubine.

Other Uses:
In the West Indies, it is planted as a shade tree for coffee and cacao and for windbreaks. It has been used to stabilize soils and to relieve soil compaction in degraded pastures. Other Uses: Oil has been extracted from the seeds. A yellowish-green essential oil is obtained from the wood, called Sandalo Ingles in Brazil. The heartwood is pink or yellowish pink to brick red or rich reddish-brown, marked with fine darker red striping; the 5 – 7cm wide band of sapwood is lighter in colour but not always clearly differentiated. The texture is medium and fairly uniform; the grain is generally interlocked but sometimes is straight; lustre is medium; odour and taste are not distinctive. The wood is moderately heavy; soft to moderately hard; strong, and fairly durable, being resistant to fungi and dry wood borers, though very susceptible to attack by dry-wood termites and not resistant to marine bores. It is rather slow to season, with a high risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. It is rather easy to work, usually yielding smooth surfaces if straight-grained though it usually tears and chips if the grain is interlocked. It is below average in planing, turning and boring; takes nails and screws well so long as it is pre-bored; glues correct. An attractive wood, it is similar to mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and has comparable uses. One of the most used woods in the American tropics, it is used for general construction, bridgework, railway ties, general wheelwright’s work, dugouts, heavy carts, canoes, general shipbuilding, shingles, flooring, interior construction, and furniture. It is a good general utility wood where a fairly strong and moderately durable timber is required. The wood produces a fair quality face veneer but is not used extensively for this purpose because of the mechanical problems in veneer-cutting operations.

Known Hazards: The fruit is poisonous.

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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