We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Calotropis procera - (Aiton) W.T.Aiton

Common Name Auricula Tree, Dead Sea Apple, Sodom Apple
Family Apocynaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards The juice of the plant is poisonous - it has been used as an infanticide in Africa[ 46 ]. Both the bark and the latex are widely used as arrow and spear poisons[ 303 ]. The latex is cardiotoxic with the active ingredient being calotropin[ 303 ]. (Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction )
Habitats A weed along degraded roadsides, lagoon edges and in overgrazed native pastures[ 303 ]. It has a preference for and is often dominant in areas of abandoned cultivation, especially in sandy soils in areas of low rainfall[303].
Range Tropical Africa through Arabia to the Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Calotropis procera Auricula Tree, Dead Sea Apple, Sodom Apple

Calotropis procera Auricula Tree, Dead Sea Apple, Sodom Apple
wikimedia.org User:Djampa


Translate this page:


Auricula Tree or Calotropis procera is an erect, flowering shrub that grows up to 2-5 m tall. When fully established, it is drought-resistant and salt-tolerant. Its flowers are purple and white and the plant juice is poisonous. The stem is source of strong and durable fibre used in making ropes, bow strings, fishing nets, paper, pulp, etc. The seed capsules, on the other hand, are used as stuffing material in mattresses. The stems further produce good charcoal and is termite resistant. It is used for roofing and building hats. Mudar Gummi, a rubber material, is also obtained from Auricula tree. The broad, greyish-green leaves of auricula tree are used as a soup ingredient. It is used medicinally against asthma. Roots are poisonous and used for treating snakebites. The latex is used against ringworm and as laxative; the flower against asthma and catarrh. F

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Calotropis procera is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is not frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Asclepias gigantea Jacq. Asclepias procera Aiton

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Sap  Shoots
Edible Uses: Drink

The flower shoots are eaten young and raw. The leaves are occasionally eaten. The leaves are used for making an alcoholic drink. In Ethiopia the sap is added to milk to help it coagulate. The leaves have been used as a soup ingredient in sauces[ 617 ]. A rather strange report - see the notes above on toxicity[ K ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anthelmintic  Antiasthmatic  Antibacterial  Antidiarrhoeal  Cathartic  Digestive  Diuretic  Dysentery  
Emetic  Laxative  Leprosy  Mouthwash  Odontalgic  Ophthalmic  Purgative  
Rubefacient  Skin  Tonic  Vermifuge

Compounds derived from the plant have been found to have emetic-cathartic and digitalic properties. The principal active compounds are asclepin and mudarin[ 303 ]. Other compounds have been found to have bactericidal and vermicidal propertie[ 303 ]. The root bark is an emetic[ 303 ]. An infusion of bark powder is used in the treatment and cure of leprosy and elephantiasis[ 46 , 266 , 303 ]. It is inadvisable to use bark that has been kept for more than a year[ 303 ]. The extremely poisonous roots are used in the treatment of snakebites[ 303 ]. The leaves are used for the treatment of asthma[ 266 ]. The milky sap is used as a rubefacient and is also strongly purgative and caustic[ 303 ]. The latex is used for treating ringworm, guinea worm blisters, scorpion stings, venereal sores and ophthalmic disorders[ 303 ], it is also used as a laxative[ 303 ]. Its use in India in the treatment of skin diseases has caused severe bullous dermatitis leading sometimes to hypertrophic scars[ 303 ]. The local effect of the latex on the conjunctiva is congestion, epiphora and local anaesthesia[ 303 ]. The latex contains a proteolytic enzyme called caloptropaine[ 303 ]. The flower is digestive and tonic[ 303 ]. It is used in the treatment of asthma and catarrh[ 303 ]. The twigs are applied for the preparation of diuretics, stomach tonic and anti-diarrhoetics and for asthma[ 303 ]. Also used in abortion, as an anthelmintic, for colic, cough, whooping cough, dysentery, headache, lice treatment, jaundice, sore gums and mouth, toothache, sterility, swellings and ulcers[ 303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Charcoal  Cotton wool  Dye  Fibre  Green manure  Latex  Paper  Repellent  Roofing  Soil conditioner  Soil stabilization  String  Stuffing  Teeth  Tinder  Weaving  Wood

Other uses rating: High (4/5). Agroforestry Uses: A source of green manure[ 303 ]. The plant can help improve soil water conditions and also acts as a soil binder[ 303 ]. Plants often escape from cultivation, especially when growing on sandy soils. It often self-sows freely on overgrazed land and has been used as an indicator of exhausted soil[ 303 ]. Other Uses A strong fibre is obtained from the stem[ 46 ]. Durable under water[ 46 ]. White, silky, strong, cylindrical, flexible and durable stem fibre used for various purposes, such as for making ropes, to form cheap cots, gunny bags, bow strings, fishing nets, and in the manufacture of paper, pulp and duplicating stencils[ 46 , 303 , 774 ]. Strong inner bark fibres produce a binding material and are processed into fabrics[ 303 ]. The floss from the seed capsules is used as a stuffing material in mattresses etc[ 46 , 774 ]. The floss from the seeds, which is about 2 - 3.5 cm long, white silky and strong, is used as an inferior stuffing for mattresses and pillows as well as for weaving into a strong cloth[ 303 ]. The floss may also substitute cotton wool for surgical purposes[ 303 ]. The plant is the source of a rubber-like product called Mudar Gummi[ 46 ]. The liquid latex can be used as a renewable source of hydrocarbons and intermediate energy resources[ 303 ]. The latex contains 11 - 23% of rubber[ 303 ]. The latex is 80% effective in inhibiting the activity of the tobacco mosaic virus[ 303 ]. The leafy branches are said to deter ants[ 303 ]. A macerated bark extract can be used for dyes[ 303 ] An ideal plant for monitoring sulphur dioxide emissions in the air[ 303 ]. The stems are termite proof and are used for roofing and building huts[ 303 ]. The very light wood can also be used for fishing net floats[ 303 ]. The wood is a source of charcoal, used for making gunpowder[ 46 , 303 ]. Stems produce a good charcoal, while the stem pith makes good tinder[ 303 ]. The dogbane-milkweed family Asclepias, Apocynum, Calotropis, and Trachomitum spp) has been used for fiber industrial crops for millennia with a number in cultivation as regional crops. All of these crops are dual-purpose fibres, offering bast fibres from the stem and seed fiber or ‘floss’ in the fruit pods. Many have also been identified as potential hydrocarbon crops due to high latex content. Could be integrated into various agroforestry systems rather than as monocultures [1-1].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Coppice

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

A plant of the semi-arid tropics and subtropics, it is found growing at elevations from sea level to 1,300 metres[ 303 ]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 300 - 400mm[ 303 ]. Requires a sunny position. Prefers disturbed sandy soils[ 303 ]. Established plants are very drought-resistant and are salt-tolerant to a relatively high degree[ 303 ]. It has a preference for and is often dominant in areas of abandoned cultivation especially sandy soils in areas of low rainfall[ 303 ]. When growing in sandy soils, this species has been known to escape from cultivation[ 307 ]. The plant has spread widely from its original range and has become naturalized in many areas of the tropics and subtropics[ 303 ]. Through its wind and animal dispersed seeds, it quickly becomes established as a weed along degraded roadsides, lagoon edges and in overgrazed native pastures[ 303 ]. When cultivated, annual yields of up to 500 kg/ha of fibre are expected. A single harvest per season is preferable to a double (or triple) harvest; a single harvest would result in a net saving of energy input both on the farm and in the processing plant[ 303 ]. The plant is often an indicator of overgrazed land[ 303 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Materials, chemicals and energy include bioplastics, rubber, biomass products gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, butane, propane, biogas. Plants are usually resprouting plants and saps.
  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed. The tree seeds freely, and natural regeneration is common. Vegetative propagation through half stumps assumes a special importance as compared with the entire stumps because they help in faster multiplication of the parent genotype with plus characters, as each plant gives rise to 2 half stumps. Stumps also help in propagating only 1 plant. Vegetative propagation through stem and root cuttings is very useful in large-scale multiplication of the superior genotypes.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Auricula Tree or Calotropis procera. Common Names: auricula tree; cabbage tree; calotrope; camel tree; dead sea fruit; desert wick; French cotton; giant milkweed; Indian milkweed; mudar fibre; mudar plant; roostertree; rubber bush; rubber tree; sodom apple; Sodom's milkweed; swallow-wort. Spanish: algodon extranjero; ‡rbol de la seda; bomba; cazuela; malcascada; mata de seda; mata de seda; mudar; tula; algodon de seda. French: arbre ˆ soie; arbre a soie du Senegal; arbre de soie; boie canon; bois canon; coton soie; pomme de sodome. Arabic: dead sea plant; kisher; usar; usher. Chinese: bai hua niu jiao gua. Portuguese: algodao-de-seda; saco-de-velho. Bahamas: St. Thomas bush; wild cotton; wild down. Brazil: hortncia; saco de bode; seda. Cuba: algod—n americano; algod—n de judea; estrella de Holanda; estrella del norte. Dominican Republic: algod—n extranjero. East Africa: mpamba mwitu. Ethiopia: akalo; dinda; ghinda; ghindae; quimbo; tobiaw. Gambia: kipapa. Germany: Mudarpflanze; Mudarstrauch; Oscherstrauch. India: aak; akada; akdo; alarka; chinnajlleedu; mandara; mar; oriya; orkho; rui; sans; vellerukku. Italy: calotropo. Jamaica: dumb cotton. Lesser Antilles: bwa kannon; bwa peta; cow heel; laswa; milk bush; monkey apple; puk puk; sprain leaf. Nigeria: tumfafia. Pakistan: ak. Senegal: faftan. Somalia: boah. Sudan: usher wood. Venezuela: gallito; palo de algod—n.

Found In: Afghanistan, Africa, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Africa, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, GuinŽe, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, North Africa, Oman, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Sahel, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Socotra, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, West Africa, West Indies, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

A serious weed in pastures and overgrazed rangelands. The species is now naturalized in Australia, many Pacific Islands, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean islands. In these parts of the world it is considered as a noxious weed and harmful to natural biodiversity.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Calotropis giganteaGiant Milkweed, Crown Flower, Giant Calotrope, Swallow-wortTree5.0 10-12 FLMHNDM234

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Aiton) W.T.Aiton

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Calotropis procera  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.