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Pterocarpus indicus - Willd.

Common Name Amboyna, Indian Padauk, Burmese Rosewood, Narra, Bloodwood
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A widespread tree found in lowland primary and some secondary forest, mainly along tidal creeks and rocky shores at elevations up to 750 metres[338 , 349 ]. Also found in beach forest, on coral sand and on rocky shores[349 ].
Range E. Asia - southern China, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the western Pacific Islands.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Pterocarpus indicus Amboyna, Indian Padauk, Burmese Rosewood, Narra, Bloodwood


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Pterocarpus indicus Amboyna, Indian Padauk, Burmese Rosewood, Narra, Bloodwood
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Summary

Other common names are Burmese Rosewood, Narra, and Bloodwood. Amboyna or Pterocarpus indicus is a fast-growing medium-sized tree growing about 30 m tall and 4 m wide. It has compound oval leaves, fragrant, bell-shaped and yellow flowers, and round fruits that are pods. It is a tropical species native to Asia and not tolerant to drought and frost. It has a nitrogen-fixing capability and is used as a shade tree in plantations. Medicinally, the tree is used to treat throat ailments, mouth sores, mouth tumors, diarrhea, boils, prickly heat, ulcers, and syphilis. It is not a major food source but its young leaves and flowers can be eaten. The bark yields red dye. The wood is of superior quality and used in high-grade furniture, cabinets, decorative sliced veneer, wall panelling, flooring, musical instruments, and many others. Plants can be grown from seed.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Pterocarpus indicus is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 30 m (98ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Honey Bees, Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Pterocarpus echinatus Pers. Pterocarpus vidalianus Rolfe

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves
Edible Uses:

The young leaves and fragrant flowers are said to be eaten[301 , 303 ]. Those who eat them probably concentrate such meals during the leaf flush and flowering periods[303 ].

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 kino obtained from the trunk is sticky, bitter and oily[307 ]. It is said to be antibilious, emetic, and sternutatory and is used to treat throat ailments, mouth sores and is a folk remedy for tumours, especially of the mouth[303 , 307 ]. It was once administered in diarrhoea, often combined with opium[303 ] The young leaves are applied externally to boils, prickly heat and ulcers[303 ]. The finely powdered leaves are applied to a ruptured vagina[303 ] The leaves are reported to significantly inhibit the growth of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cells[303 ]. The root juice is used to treat syphilis[303 ].

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Other Uses

Large flowering tree. Shade tree. Street tree. Public open space. Agroforestry Uses: A nitrogen-fixing tree, it has been recommended for use in agroforestry systems and as a shade tree for coffee and other crops[325 ]. Other Uses A red dye is obtained from the bark[307 ]. The wood gives a reddish dye, more fugitive than that of the related Pterocarpus santolinus[303 ]. A source of kino[303 ]. Kino is a red substance resembling resin, obtained by tapping several unrelated tropical trees. It is used locally, as an astringent and in tanning[303 ]. The leaf infusion is used as a shampoo[303 ]. The heartwood is brick red to golden brown in colour but ages to a dull brown leather colour[303 ]. The wood is moderately hard, moderately heavy, easy to work, pleasantly rose-scented, takes a fine polish, develops a range of rich colours from yellow to red, and has conspicuous growth rings, which impart a fine figure to the wood[303 ]. Remarkably, such growth rings are developed even in the non-seasonal humid tropics[303 ]. The wood shapes well, takes a high polish, and resists termites and rot[337 ]. It is used for high class furniture and cabinets, decorative sliced veneer, interior wall panelling, feature flooring (including strip and parquet), musical instruments, gun stocks, rifle butts, turned articles, knife handles, boat building and specialised joinery[349 ]. The highly prized Amboyna burl, one of the rarest and most valued wood products in the world, is marked with little twisted curls and knots in a manner more varied than bird's-eye maple. There is a distinctive sweet smell when working the wood[303 ]. The more red the wood, the heavier it is, but an average density might be 720 kg/m_. It is little used for ornamental turning, but because the burl is so exquisitely figured, it makes a nice compliment to a piece to use it for finials or perhaps a cabochon-like inlay on a flat box top[303 ]. Although the wood is not necessarily recommended as firewood, it certainly could be used for fuel[303 ]. Some Pterocarpus burn green[303 ].

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist to wet tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 750 metres, though it can be cultivated at higher elevations[349 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 24 - 32°c, but can tolerate 12 - 37°c[418 ]. The plant is not frost tolerant.. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 1,500 - 3,500mm[418 ]. Amboyna behaves like a pioneer and grows best in an open position[303 ]. Succeeds in a range of soils from sandy loams to clays with a pH from neutral to very strongly acid[337 ]. Prefers a fertile, moisture-retentive soil[307 ]. Tolerates moderate levels of salt in the soil[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7.5[418 ]. As an urban tree, amboyna is relatively wind-firm and seldom suffers branch breakage. Under favourable conditions, trees in Singapore have been known to grow an average of 33 metres in height and 1.55 metres in girth in 11 years, or an average annual increment of 1.2 metres height and 14 cm girth[303 ]. Open-grown trees usually begin flowering and fruiting between 5 and 10 years of age[337 ]. The roots can become quite large and grow near the surface, the tree should therefore be planted several metres away from sidewalks and other structures[337 ]. Seedlings are slower growing than cuttings and exhibit considerable variation in vigour. A strict culling program would be necessary to ensure that only the best stocks are planted out[303 ]. Rooted cuttings can be established readily on nearly all kinds of soils, from coastal sands to inland clays, in urban and garden situations, and even in quite small planting holes dug into pavements. However, establishment trials in forest areas have had mixed results and some have failed[303 ]. The reasons are not clear[303 ]. Trees of all sizes and ages easily regenerate new shoots when lopped or pollarded[303 ]. In Papua New Guinea, logged forest trees readily regenerate new plants from the roots[303 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200 ]. Bloom Color: Gold (Yellow-Orange) Bright Yellow. Spacing: over 40 ft. (12 m).

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - easy[349 ]. No pre-germination treatment is necessary[337 ]. Because shelling the fragile seeds from the tough pods is difficult by hand and currently impossible mechanically, pods are sown with the seeds inside[337 ]. Germination rates between 24 - 57% have been recorded, with the first seeds germinating after 5 days and the last after 3 months[337 ]. Pods are lightly covered with potting mixture in germination beds or trays and kept moist until germination. Planting seeds with the pods requires thinning the plants soon after emergence. When true leaves develop, the seedlings are transplanted into nursery bags or pots filled with a potting mixture. Seedlings about 50cm in height are suitable for most forestry plantings[337 ]. Air-dried seeds in their pods will still germinate after 1 year of storage at room temperature[337 ]. Cuttings of the species can be rooted. In the Philippines, branch cuttings of P. Indicus about 8 cm in diameter are rooted after hormone treatment to produce instant trees[337 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Amboyna, Angsana, Asana, Bluwota, Dandara, Indian padauk, Ligi, Liki, Malay padauk, Narra, New Guinea rosewood, Pau-rosa do timor, Pinati, Pra du, Pradu, Rigi, Ringi, Sana kapur, Sana kembang, Sana, Sena, Sonokembang, Vangai, Yerravegisa, amboinaträd, amboyna-wood, andaman redwood, angsana, burmese rosewood, malay padauk, malay paduak, narra, new guinea rosewood, papua new guinea rosewood, pashu padauk, philippine-mahogany, prickly padauk|wal ehela, yaeyama-shitan.

Found In

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

Cambodia; India; Indonesia; Malaysia; Myanmar; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Vanuatu; Lao People's Democratic Republic, Africa, Asia, Australia, Brunei, Burma, Caribbean, Central Africa, Central America, China, Congo, Cuba, East Africa, East Timor, Fiji, Guam, Guyana, Hawaii, Indochina, Jamaica, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Micronesia, Mozambique, North America, Pacific, Palau, Panama, PNG, Puerto Rico, Samoa, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad, USA, Vietnam, West Africa, Yap,

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Vulnerable A1d

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Dipterocarpus alatusApitong, baume de gurjun, gurjun balsam02
Dipterocarpus gracilisTagalog: Panao01
Dipterocarpus grandiflorusApitong00
Dipterocarpus kerriiKerr's Keruing02
Pterocarpus angolensisAmbila03
Pterocarpus dalbergioidesAndaman padauk, East Indian-mahogany,22
Pterocarpus erinaceusAfrican Kino03
Pterocarpus soyauxiiAfrican Coralwood22

 

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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