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Toona ciliata - M.Roem.

Common Name Mountain Cedar, Australian Red Cedar, Toona
Family Meliaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards Sawdust from machining operations has been reported to cause dermatitis in some individuals[303 ].
Habitats Common to abundant in shade or open habitats: valleys, ravines, woods, thickets, forests, hillsides, mountaintops, slopes, near rivers and streams, especially throughout Yunnan, at elevations of 400 - 2,800 metres[266 ].
Range E. Asia - China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesi
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Toona ciliata Mountain Cedar, Australian Red Cedar, Toona

Toona ciliata
Toona ciliata Mountain Cedar, Australian Red Cedar, Toona
Forest & Kim Starr hear.org/starr


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Toona ciliata, otherwise known as Mountain Cedar, Australian Red Cedar, or Red Cedar, is a vigorous, deciduous tree growing about 20 - 35 m in height and up to 300 cm in trunk diameter. It can be found in East Asia. The crown is rounded, spreading, and dense. The root system is also spreading. The trunk can be buttressed of up to 3.5 m tall. The leaves can be cooked and consumed as food. Medicinally, the bark is used in the treatment of chronic dysentery and wounds. It also yields a resinous gum which is used to treat boils. The flowers are used to stimulate menstrual flow in women. Also, it yields dye. The bark produces tannin and fibers. The fruits yield aromatic oil. The wood is used for shiitake mushroom culture. It is moderately hard, lightweight, tough and durable. Such characteristics make it ideal for a variety of uses like carvings, boat building, cabinet production, high-grade furniture, decorative veneer and plywood, boxes and crates, and many others.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Toona ciliata is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 30 m (98ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Moths.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cedrela australis F.Muell. Cedrela australis Mudie Cedrela kingii C.DC. Cedrela kingii birmanica C.D

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

Leaves - cooked[303 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Antiperiodic  Astringent  Dysentery  Emmenagogue  Febrifuge  Skin  Tonic

Various parts of the plant are used medicinally throughout its geographical range[266 ]. The bark is a powerful astringent, febrifuge, tonic, and antiperiodic[266 , 272 ]. It is used to treat chronic dysentery and wounds[266 , 272 ]. A resinous gum obtained from the bark is used to treat boils[272 ]. The flowers are emmenagogue[266 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Dye  Essential  Furniture  Insecticide  Plant breeding  String  Tannin  Wood

Shade tree. Street tree. Public open space. Timber tree. Agroforestry Uses: Mountain cedar has been used in reforestation projects and is also planted to provide firebreaks[303 ]. Other Uses The flowers contain a red colouring matter and also a sulphur-coloured dye[46 , 266 , 303 ]. Cotton and woollen fabric can be dyed a dull yellow by mere immersion in a boiling extract of the flowers. Used in conjunction with safflower and turmeric, they produce a sulphur-yellow colour[303 ]. The bark contains tannin[303 ]. A fibre obtained from the bark has been used traditionally for twines and the manufacture of string bags[303 ]. An aromatic oil can be extracted from the fruit[303 ]. Some extracts from the bark have insect-repellent properties[303 ]. Extracts from the bark, heartwood and leaves apparently have insecticidal qualities[451 ]. The wood is used for shiitake mushroom culture[303 ]. The heartwood is pale brown, cedar brown, dark red-brown or brick red when first cut, darkening upon exposure to a rich reddish-brown with darker brown streaks. The sapwood is pinkish-white, red or pale yellow-brown, it smells strongly of cedar when cut[266 , 303 ]. The grain is generally straight to somewhat interlocked, the texture moderately close and uneven, and the wood lustrous[303 ]. A strong, fragrant, long-lasting spicy odour is usually present[303 ]. The wood is moderately hard, lightweight, tough and durable[272 , 307 ]. Staining is satisfactory, and the timber takes both water- and oil-based paints well[303 ]. The wood has a variety of uses such as for carvings, boat building, cabinet making, cigar boxes, matchboxes, decorative plywood and veneer, food containers, high-grade furniture, interior trim, joinery, musical instruments, ornamental work, panelling, boxes and crates, building materials, exterior uses, millwork, mouldings[272 , 303 , 307 ]. The timber of this species has always been highly regarded in the manufacture of light-weight racing boats particularly sailing boats and dinghies[713 ].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist to wet tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations from 400 - 2,800 metres[266 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 34°c, but can tolerate 8 - 48°c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -3°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 0°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,100 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 750 - 4,500mm[418 ]. Young trees require some protection from direct sun, but become more light demanding as they grow older[418 ]. Prefers a rich, deep, water-retentive soil[307 ]. Does not do well on wet, compacted or poor sandy ones[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7.5[418 ]. Widely grown as a timber tree, it has wind-dispersed seeds and has become naturalized in some areas. It needs to be monitored for potential invasiveness[305 ]. Toona ciliata grows rapidly[299 ]. In Hawaii an average tree height of 10 metres and an average bole diameter of 9.6 cm had been reached after 8.7 years[299 ]. Trees may reach a height of 35 metres with a bole diameter of 70 cm when 40 years old[299 ]. In plantations in tropical Africa, growth declines seriously after 40 years[299 ]. Trees planted in open localities may already flower and produce seed after 6 years[299 ]. It coppices well and produces plentiful root suckers[303 ]. The tree has a spreading superficial root system, which may have adverse effects on the growth of agricultural crops[303 ]. The tendency to become branchy should be controlled by close initial spacing. Thinning is required from the 4th year, and thereafter every 5 years[303 ]. A very variable tree[266 ]. Flowering: early spring, mid spring, late spring. Bloom Color: red, pink, white.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - germinates quicker and better under shade[303 ]. It should be broadcast thinly on raised and shaded nursery beds soon after collection[303 ]. Germination takes 8 - 15 days and fresh seed has a germination rate of 50 - 80%[303 ]. Natural regeneration is profuse even in areas outside its natural range. Good natural reproduction can be induced by clearing the ground in the vicinity of seed bearers[303 ]. Orthodox seed storage behaviour; 90% germination after 12 months? storage in polythene bags at 5 - 8°c with 34-12.9% mc; complete loss of viability after 3 months at room temperature[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Kuruk, Mahaneem, Mahanim, Malarveppu, Mandurike, Mathagiri, Moulmein cedar, Nandichettu, Nandivriksha, Poma, Santhanavembu, Tawtama, Thevatharam, Todu, Tun, Tundu, Tuni, Tunna, Tunumaram, australian red-cedar, australian-cedar, henduri poma, hong chun, indian mahogany, moulmain cedar, poma, red cedar, red-cedar, thooniyanoikam, toon, toon tree, toona, toonboom, toontree, tuni.

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Found In

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

China ; Malaysia; Australia ; Bangladesh; Thailand; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Cambodia; Viet Nam; Philippines; Indonesia; Myanmar; Papua New Guinea; Nepal; Bhutan, Africa, Asia, East Africa, Himalayas, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malawi, Mozambique, PNG, SE Asia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Swaziland, Thailand, 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.

Widely grown as a timber tree, it has wind-dispersed seeds and has become naturalized in some areas. It needs to be monitored for potential invasiveness[305 ]

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Lower Risk/least concern

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Toona sinensisChinese CedarTree20.0 6-11 FLMHNM324
Toona sureniSurenTree35.0 9-12 FMHNM224

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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