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Canarium vulgare - Leenh.

Common Name Java Almond, Kenari Nut
Family Burseraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A canopy tree that occurs locally, often gregariously, in dense primary forest on limestone or in rather dry rain forest[ 303 , 388 ].
Range Southeast Asia - Indonesia to New Guinea.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Canarium vulgare Java Almond, Kenari Nut
Canarium vulgare Java Almond, Kenari Nut
Ahmad Fuad Morad flickr


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Java Almond, Canarium vulgare, is a tropical, deciduous, fast-growing tree that functions as food tree, shade tree, and ornamental tree. It grows up to 45 m high and its crooked bole can reach up to 150 cm wide. It is found in Southeast Asia. The leaves are oblong and have papery texture. The flowers form a cluster at the end of branches. The seed of C vulgare is consumed raw or cooked. It has a rich, pleasant flavour and is used as a substitute to common almond. It can also be ground into a powder and used to make bread. It also yields edible oil which can also be used as an illuminant. The resin is used for varnish and caulking boats. The wood is soft and mainly used for fuel. Found In: Asia, Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, Hawaii, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Ponape, Philippines, SE Asia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, USA, Vanuatu. Other Names: Chinese-olive, Kenari nut-tree, Gisau.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Canarium vulgare is a deciduous Tree growing to 45 m (147ft) by 30 m (98ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Canarium commune Auct.


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Seed - raw or cooked[ 63 , 301 ]. A rich, pleasant flavour, it is highly favoured as a snack[ 301 , 303 , 451 ]. Used as a substitute for the common almond, it is somewhat sweeter in flavour[ 63 ]. It can be ground into a powder and used to make bread[ 301 ]. The seeds are used in a wide variety of dishes by the local people[ 63 ]. The seed contains about 72% oil, 13% protein and 7% starch[ 63 ]. It has been found that adding a strained emulsion of the crushed, well-ripened kernels to cows milk makes it much more digestible if fed to babies[ 63 ]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[ 301 ]. It is preferred to coconut oil by local people[ 63 ].


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.

The resin is used medicinally as a balsam[ 303 ].


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Other Uses


Other uses rating: Medium (3/5). Agroforestry Uses: The tree is grown in nutmeg groves in order to provide shade and shelter[ 63 , 451 ]. Other Uses The oil from the seed is used as an illuminant[ 63 ]. The resin is suitable for varnish and caulking boats[ 303 ]. It is not produced abundantly[ 451 ]. The hard, even-textured shells are well adapted to carving and are made into fancy articles of various kinds[ 63 ]. The wood is rather soft[ 451 ]. It is used for making canoes. Paddles have been manufactured from the buttresses[ 303 ]. The wood is mainly used for fuel[ 451 ]. This species is one of the sources of kedondong timber, which is obtained from several species in the family Burseraceae[ 303 ]. We do not have a specific description of the wood for this species, but the general description of kedondong wood is as follows:- The heartwood is generally a light brown; it is not sharply demarcated from the 3 - 5cm wide band of lighter-coloured sapwood. The texture is moderately fine and even; the grain is interlocked to wavy; the surface is lustrous. The wood is light in weight; moderately hard; not very durable, being susceptible to fungi, dry wood borers and termites. It seasons somewhat slowly with only a slight risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable to stable in service. The wood has a fairly high blunting effect, stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; it is moderately easy to slightly difficult to plane; finishes smooth to rough; can be easy to very difficult to bore; slightly difficult to difficult to turn; nailing and screwing properties are good; gluing is correct. The wood is suitable for internal use as a general utility timber for planking, cladding, plywood, flooring, furniture, packing cases, pallets and general carpentry work[ 316 , 848 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

A tree of the lowland tropics, succeeding at elevations up to 1,200 metres[ 303 ]. Seedling trees begin to bear crops of seeds when about 6 - 8 years old[ 307 ]. Wild forms usually have three, sometimes two kernels present in the nut, each in its own compartment[ 63 ]. In the case of cultivated trees, however, only one kernel may be present in each nut[ 63 ]. When this is so, the kernel is proportionately larger and the nut easier to crack[ 63 ]. The seeds can vary considerably in shape and quality from tree to tree[ 63 ]. Flowering and fruiting can occur throughout the year[ 303 ].


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Seed - it has a hard seed coat and germinates erratically. Filing away some of the seed coat to allow moisture to enter more readily, without damaging the seed, will encourage a faster and more even germination[ 658 ]. Treated seed generally has about 85% viability[ 303 ]. Air-dry seed can be stored without temperature control for several months up to 1.5 years, without losing its viability.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Java Almond, Canarium vulgare. Other Names: Chinese-olive, Kenari nut-tree, Gisau.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Found In: Asia, Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, Hawaii, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Ponape, Philippines, SE Asia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, USA, Vanuatu.

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.

None Known

Conservation Status

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

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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.


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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.

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