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Chloroxylon swietenia - DC.

Common Name East Indian Satinwood
Family Rutaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry deciduous forest on poor, well-drained sandy or rocky soils, at low to medium altitudes[ 299 ].
Range E. Asia - India, Sri Lanka.
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
Chloroxylon swietenia East Indian Satinwood

Chloroxylon swietenia East Indian Satinwood


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Chloroxylon swietenia or commonly known as East Indian Stainwood is a tropical , medium-sized deciduous tree native to southern India, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka. It grows up to 20 m in height. The leaves are pinnate, the bark is slightly corky and thick, the flowers are small, creamy white, and the fruits are oblong three-segmented capsules. Most plant parts are used in traditional medicine in India. Essential oil obtained from the leaves and stems have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Dried leaves can be used for pains while crushed leaves for the treatment of wounds, snakebites, and rheumatism. Leaves and roots can be made into paste then taken internally or applied externally as relieve from headache. The seed yields oil. The wood is heavy, hard, durable, and used as decorative timber and in heavy construction, agricultural equipment, boat building, and railway sleepers. It is, in addition, used as fuel wood.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Chloroxylon swietenia is a deciduous Tree growing to 18 m (59ft) by 18 m (59ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Chloroxylon chloroxylon (Roxb.) Huth [Invalid]. Swietenia chloroxylon Roxb.


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.

In India most plant parts are used in traditional medicine. Research has shown the presence of various medically active substances in the plant. Coumarins and quinolinone alkaloids have been identified in the stem bark[ 299 ]. Coumarins, and alkaloid and 2,4-dihydroxy-5-prenycinnamic acid are found in the heartwood[ 299 ]. An essential oil in the leaves contains the terpenes limonene, germacrene D, geijerene, pregeijerene, trans-_-ocimene and methyl eugenol[ 299 ]. Both the leaf and the stem oils exhibit moderate to strong activities against a panel of bacteria and fungi[ 299 ]. The essential oil from the leaves and stems, plus several isolated compounds, display significant mosquitocidal activity by fumigation against Aedes aegypti, Anopheles gambiae and Culex quinquefasciatus, as well as activity against tobacco cutworm, Spodoptera litura[ 299 ]. Methanol extracts of the dried leaves exhibit good analgesic activity[ 299 ]. The crushed leaves are applied externally to treat wounds, snakebites and rheumatism[ 299 ]. A paste of the leaves and roots is taken internally to treat headache and is applied to the forehead as a balm for the same purpose[ 299 ]. The root bark in milk is drunk to treat impotence[ 299 ]. A bark extract is considered astringent and taken to treat fever, chest pain and in a mixture with other plants to treat asthma[ 299 ]. In friction it is used to treat bruises and painful joints[ 299 ].


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Other Uses

Other uses rating: High (4/5). Other Uses: The seeds contain 16% non-drying oil[ 299 ]. The wood is heavy, strong and hard, it has a slight pleasant fragrance when freshly cut. The heartwood is cream-coloured to golden yellow, darkening to brown with age; it is not clearly demarcated from the slightly paler sapwood. The grain is usually interlocked or wavy, texture fine and even. The wood is often striped or mottled, and remarkably lustrous. Dark gum veins are a common defect, as they are liable to develop into splits. The wood is difficult to work with hand tools and moderately hard to saw and machine, with a moderate to severe blunting effect on cutting tools. In planing a cutting angle of 15? is required to avoid tearing. A neat finishing makes it possible to obtain a perfectly polished surface and a beautiful glazed effect. Boring operations are reported to be rather difficult, and the wood requires to be held firmly in boring operations to prevent chattering. Preboring is recommended in nailing and screwing, but nail-holding and screw-holding properties are rated as good. The wood turns and stains well, but is difficult to glue[ 299 ]. The heartwood is rated as highly resistant to attack by all types of fungi, but in India it is reported to possess little resistance to attack by termites. It is also susceptible to attack by marine borers, and to a lesser extent by pinhole borers and longhorn beetles. The sapwood is not susceptible to Lyctus borers. The heartwood is extremely resistant to preservative treatment. The wood is reported to cause skin irritation[ 299 ]. A decorative timber, it is used for furniture, panelling, pattern making, interior trim, cabinet work, flooring, boxes, crates, interior joinery, carvings, toys, musical instruments and luxury goods. It is made into decorative veneer, which is, however, unsuitable for plywood manufacture because of its weight. Because of its strength it is also used for heavy construction, railway sleepers, boat building and agricultural equipment[ 299 ]. The wood is also used as fuel wood[ 299 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

A plant of the lowland moist tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 450 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 30 - 40°c, but can tolerate 10 - 47°c[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 750 - 1,900mm[ 418 ]. Grows best in a sunny position[ 418 ]. Succeeds in most soils that are well-drained[ 418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5 - 7.8[ 418 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[ 418 ]. The tree has shown good growth rates in Nigeria[ 299 ]. It coppices well[ 299 ]. The plant is susceptible to fire damage[ 418 ]. In India the tree is an alternative food-plant for the caterpillars of Papilio demoleus, a pest of Citrus spp[ 299 ].


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Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Chloroxylon swietenia or commonly known as East Indian Stainwood. Ceylon Satinwood, East Indian Satinwood, Buruta ¥ Hindi: Bhirra, Bhivia, Dhoura, Girya ¥ Marathi: Behru, Halda, Bheria, Hulda ¥ Tamil: Vaaimaram or porasu, Mammarai, Porinja maram ¥ Malayalam: Varimaram: Telugu: billu, billydu, billudu, bella Kannada: bittulla, huragalu, hurihuli, masula Oriya: bheru gatcho ¥ Sanskrit: bhillotaka, bimbilota

Found In

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

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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 : Chloroxylon swietenia (East Indian Satinwood)

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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