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Pittosporum resiniferum - Hemsl.

Common Name Petroleum nut
Family Pittosporaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not very abundant in any part of the Philippines, but it is widely distributed and usually found on high mountain ridges[345 ]. Found in mossy forests at elevations from 600 - 2,400 metres[360 , 418 ]. Found among other trees like oak and other mossy forest species. It can also grow well with pine trees.
Range Southeast Asia - Malaysia, Philippines.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Pittosporum resiniferum Petroleum nut

Dick Culbert wikimedia.org
Pittosporum resiniferum Petroleum nut
LiChieh Pan flickr.com


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Sometimes misspelt as Pittosporum resinosum

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Pittosporum resiniferum is an evergreen Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


This name is unresolved. Pittosporum resinosum (misspelt)

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None Known

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.

Herbalists in the Philippines use the petroleum nut as a universal medicine[360 ]. An infusion of the fruit is used as a remedy for intestinal and stomach pains[360 ]. An oleoresin obtained from the fruit is used externally as a cure for leprosy and other skin diseases; also to bring relief from muscular pains and skin diseases[360 , 418 ]. A decoction of the nuts is used in the treatment of colds[360 , 418 ]. The crushed nuts, combined with coconut oil, are used to bring relief from myalgia[360 ]. A decoction of the leaves is taken in the treatment of coughs[360 ]. The sap is used to treat ringworm[360 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

An oil obtained from the fruit contains a dihydroterpene and also considerable quantities of normal heptane, which had only once before been found in nature, occurring in the digger pine (Pinus sabiniana) of California[345 ]. The oil can also be distilled into a very pure form of n-Heptane. Dihydroterpene is used in perfumes and medicines, whilst heptane is a component of gasoline, and has been suggested as a possible component of paint and varnish[269 ]. The oil is quite sticky, and in a thin layer rapidly becomes resinous[345 ]. In an open dish it burns strongly, with a sooty flame. It distils unchanged up to 165°, then with decomposition to give a resin oil. The oil distilling from100° to 165° is colourless, with an orange-like odour[345 ]. The essential oil is 8 - 10% of the total fruit weight and comprises 40% myrcene, 38% a-pinene, n-heptane and n-nonane are minor components[360 ]. The fruits, even green ones, burn brilliantly when ignited. Hence they are used like torch nuts or candlenuts for illumination in the bush[345 , 418 ]. The fruits are about 3cm long, borne in clusters on the stems[345 ]. The oil comes from the fruit, not the seed[360 ]. The nut has a carbon rating of 54, much higher than Jatropha curcas which has 41[360 ]. Carbon farming - Industrial Crop: hydrocarbon.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Experimental Crop  Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Management: Standard

A plant of moderate to high elevations in the moist to wet tropics, where it can be found at elevations from 600 - 2,400 metres[303 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature is within the range 18 - 28°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 5,000mm[418 ]. Prefers a well-drained soil[418 ]. The tree can commence fruiting when 6 - 12 metres tall[345 ]. Tree can commence bearing fruit within five years from seed[360 ]. One tree yields an average 250 - 300 kilos of fruit per year[360 ]. One litre of high flammable oil can be obtained from 15 kilos of fresh fruits[345 , 360 ]. There are considerable differences in the proportion of heptane and dihydroterpene found in the oil; the season and degree of ripeness of the fruits undoubtedly playing a considerable role in this respect[345 ]. All parts of the tree are distinctly resiniferous and have the same pleasant, orange-like odour as the fruits[345 ]. The flowers are fragrant[345 ]. Climate: tropical highlands. Humidity: humid. Cultivation: experimental. Management: standard.

Carbon Farming

  • Experimental Crop  Plant breeders are testing these plants to see if they could be domesticated for cultivation, but they are still in an experimental phase. Examples include milkweed and leafy spurge.
  • 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: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - The seed probably has a very short viability of less than 1 month[418 ]. Cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Pittosporum resiniferum, the resin cheesewood or petroleum nut. In the Philippine Cordilleras petroleum nut is locally known as apisang, abkel, abkol and da-il.

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Found In

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

Grows in the Philippines and Malaysia, particularly in the wilderness surrounding the Mayon Volcano and in the Cordillera of the Philippines and Mount Kinabalu of Sabah, Malaysia.

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Pittosporum balansae Shrub3.0 -  LMHSNDM10 
Pittosporum bicolorBanyallaShrub5.0 8-11  LMHSNDM003
Pittosporum crassifoliumKaro, Stiffleaf cheesewoodShrub5.0 8-11  LMSNDM003
Pittosporum eugenioidesTarataTree10.0 8-11  LMSNDM111
Pittosporum phillyreoidesWeeping Pittosporum, Narrow-leaf PittosporumShrub4.5 9-11 SLMNDM212
Pittosporum ralphiiRalph's desertwillowShrub4.0 8-11  LMNDM003
Pittosporum tenuifoliumTawhiwhiTree7.0 7-10 MLMSNDM203
Pittosporum tobiraTobira, Japanese cheesewood, Australian Laurel, Mock Orange, Japanese PittosporumShrub6.0 8-11 FLMSNDM003
Pittosporum undulatumCheesewood, Australian cheesewood, Cheesewood, Pittosporum, Orange Berry Pittosporum, Victorian BoxTree12.0 9-11 FLMSNDM003

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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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.

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