Definitions

Calophyllum

Calophyllum

Calophyllum ("beautiful leaf", from Greek kalos, "beautiful", and phullon, "leaf") is a plant genus of around 180-200 species of tropical evergreen trees in the family Clusiaceae. Its members are native to Australasia, Madagascar, Eastern Africa, South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands, the West Indies and Latin America. The common names, as well as commercial names, for these trees are:

For medicinal (folk medicine and ethnopharmacology) uses of leaves, oil from nuts and crost balsam, for HIV and AIDS, see calanolide A and calanolide B, Jacareubin, Tamanu oil, and Calophyllic acid. For medicinal use from their resin, see tacamahac.

Habitat

These species grow in a wide number of habitats, from ridges in mountain forests to coastal swamps, lowland forest and even coral cays. They are large hardwoods, attaining 30 m in height and 0.8 m in diameter. It presents shiny and leathery leaves. The tree bark is grey or white and decorticates in large thin strips. The wood is light in weight, the heartwood pink-red, or almost brown, while the sapwood varies from species to species, often from yellow, brown (often with pink tints) to orange. Species occurring in Papua New Guinea are often buttressed.

Uses

Several species have been found to contain naturally occurring calanolides in various quantities.

The lightweight hardwood of these species is used in boatmaking for masts and spars, as well as in luxury furniture and flooring.

Symbolism

The Calophyllum is a national symbol of the Pacific nation of Nauru, appearing on the national coat of arms.

See also

References

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