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Calophyllum brasiliense - Cambess.

Common Name Brazil Beauty-Leaf
Family Clusiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The fruit is poisonous[ 309 ].
Habitats Found in subtropical moist forests, lowland evergreen rainforests and lower montane rainforests, where it forms part of the canopy[ 303 ].
Range Northern S. America from Brazil northwards to Mexico and the West Indies.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Calophyllum brasiliense Brazil Beauty-Leaf
Calophyllum brasiliense Brazil Beauty-Leaf
antonio kalil


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Brazil beauty-leaf or Calophyllum brasiliense is an evergreen tree that reaches up to 45 m tall native to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.It has a dense, rounded crown and long, straight bole that is generally not buttressed. The leaves are opposite, leathery, and hairless. The scented flowers have four white petals and are grouped in panicles. The fruit is a globular drupe. It is poisonous but can be burnt as bio-fuel. Medicinally, Brazil beauty-leaf is used against ulcer and gastritis, prostate damages, sunburn, etc. Its oil known as ?tamanu oil? is used in cosmetics. The timber of Brazil beauty-leaf is highly valued similar to mahogany. It is moderately heavy, strong, durable, and resistant to fungi and dry wood bores and is used in construction, bridgework, furniture, flooring, etc. Common trade names of the wood of the Calophyllum brasiliense are: Jacare?ba, Guanandi and Arbol de Santa Maria. Also known as: Landim, Olandim, Landi, Cedro do Pantano, Guanandi-Cedro (Brazil), Arary, Ocure, Cachicamo, Balsamaria, Aceite Mario, Palomaria or Pallomaria, Brazil beauty leaf (Brazilian pretty leaf) and even of Alexander Laurel, or crown of parrots of Alexander, for the beauty of its leaves.

Physical Characteristics

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Calophyllum brasiliense is an evergreen Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 20 m (65ft) 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, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid, very alkaline and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Calophyllum antillanum Britton. Calophyllum calaba Jacq. Calophyllum ellipticum Rusby Calophyllum ja


Edible Uses

None known


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 obtained from the crushed or cut bark, called bals?mo de mar'a, has been used medicinally[ 303 , 307 , 378 , 418 ]. A decoction of the trunk bark, combined with the root-bark of Coutarea hexandra, is used as an antidiabetic and vermifuge[ 348 ]. The plant (part not specified) is used to dress sores, and as a headache remedy[ 348 ]. The plant contains xanthones, including guanandine, isoguanandine and jacareubine[ 348 ].


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Other Uses

Other uses rating: High (4/5). Agroforestry Uses: In the West Indies, it is planted as a shade tree for coffee and cacao and for windbreaks[ 303 , 418 ]. It has been used to stabilize soils and to relieve soil compaction in degraded pastures[ 303 ]. Other Uses Oil has been extracted from the seeds[ 303 , 418 ]. A yellowish-green essential oil is obtained from the wood, called Sandalo Ingles in Brazil[ 46 ]. The heartwood is pink or yellowish pink to brick red or rich reddish brown, marked with fine darker red striping; the 5 - 7cm wide band of sapwood is lighter in colour but not always clearly differentiated. The texture is medium and fairly uniform; the grain is generally interlocked but sometimes is straight; lustre is medium; odour and taste are not distinctive. The wood is moderately heavy; soft to moderately hard; strong; and fairly durable, being resistant to fungi and dry wood borers, though very susceptible to attack by drywood termites and not resistant to marine bores. It is rather slow to season, with a high risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. It is rather easy to work, usually yielding smooth surfaces if straight grained though it usually tears and chips if the grain is interlocked. It is below average in planing, turning and boring; takes nails and screws well so long as it is pre-bored; glues correct. An attractive wood, it is similar to mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and has comparable uses. One of the most used woods in the American tropics, it is used for general construction, bridgework, railway ties, general wheelwright? s work, dugouts, heavy carts, canoes, general shipbuilding, shingles, flooring, interior construction, and furniture. It is a good general utility wood where a fairly strong and moderately durable timber is required. The wood produces a fair quality face veneer but is not used extensively for this purpose because of the mechanical problems in veneer-cutting operations[ 303 , 378 , 848 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Brazil beauty leaf grows in the moister lowland and lower montane areas of the tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 30°c, but can tolerate 15 - 38°c[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 6,000mm, but tolerates 1,200 - 7,000mm[ 418 ]. Succeeds in full sun or partial shade[ 309 ]. A very tolerant plant, it occurs in nearly all the soil types[ 303 ]. It seems to grow best on wet, humid, sites, but also grows well on pure sand and rock sandstone[ 303 ]. In Puerto Rico, it occurs naturally on the north coast on sandy soils of the orders inceptisols, oxisols and alfisols. It has been planted on deep clays and serpentine soils in the mountains, and in shallow limestone soils near the coast. It does well on degraded sites, and is very resistant to salt and salt-laden winds[ 303 , 307 , 309 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[ 309 ]. Some trees bear fruit when only 3 years old[ 303 ].


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Seed - the tough endocarp inhibits water uptake and so germination will be hastened if this is broken with a hammer prior to sowing[ 303 ]. Fresh seeds can be sown in situ directly into the soil, or in a seedbed. Average germination is about 70%[ 303 ]. Seedlings transplant successfully when they are moved with a ball of earth, a task best carried out in the rainy season[ 303 ]. Seeds stored for 1 year in a dry room have germinated fairly well[ 303 ]. Fruits should not be stored at a temperature below 0°c., and the water content of the fruit should not be lower than 35%[ 303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Brazil beauty-leaf or Calophyllum brasiliense. Common trade names of the wood of the Calophyllum brasiliense are: Jacareœba, Guanandi and çrbol de Santa Maria. Also known as: Landim, Olandim, Landi, Cedro do P‰ntano, Guanandi-Cedro (Brazil), Arary, Ocure, Cachicamo, Balsamaria, Aceite Mario, Palomaria or Pallomaria, Brazil beauty leaf (Brazilian pretty leaf) and even of Alexander Laurel, or crown of parrots of Alexander, for the beauty of its leaves.

Found In

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

Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Central America, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, North America, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, South America, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Venezuela.

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.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. Some evidence of weedy potential in Florida, USA.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

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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