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Santalum spicatum - (R.Br.) A.DC.

Common Name West Australian Sandalwood
Family Santalaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Occurs in a wide range of forest types from woodland to low open-woodlands[303 ]. Loamy soils and among rocks in woodland and tall shrubland[310 ]. Red sandy soils, among rocks[285 ].
Range Australia - Western Australia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Semi-shade Full sun
Santalum spicatum West Australian Sandalwood
Santalum spicatum West Australian Sandalwood


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Santalum spicatum or commonly known as West Australian Sandalwood grows about 8m in height in Western part of Australia. It has a crooked bole with rough, gray bark and stiff spreading branches. The flowers are small, green and red, carrion-scented, and in panicles. The fruits are green but turn brown. The essential oil from the wood is used medicinally against urinary tract infection. The fruits and pods are edible. Propagation can be through seeds but mechanical scarification is required to increase rate of seed germination.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Santalum spicatum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a slow 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 nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Eucarya spicata (R.Br.) Sprague & Summerh Fusanus spicatus R.Br.


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seedpod
Edible Uses: Oil

The fruits and pods are gathered from the wild and eaten as food[303 ]. Seed kernels of sandalwood may be eaten and have formed a valuable part of the traditional Aboriginal Australian diet[303 ]. The kernels contain 45 - 55% oil, which is characterized by a high percentage of unusual acetylenic fatty acids[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 essential oil obtained from the wood is used medicinally, particularly as a disinfectant for the urinary tract[310 ]. The oil contains several medically active substances including fusanols, santalol and sesquiterpene alcohols[46 ].


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Other Uses


Seed - mechanical scarification improves germination rates[303 ]. In the wild, the seed germinates after extremes in temperature and rainfall[303 ]. Field studies indicate that only 1 - 5% of the seeds germinate[303 ]. The rate of germination is higher in reserves and protected research and plantation areas, but is still less than 20%[303 ]. Establishment of the plant on an operational and plantation scale can be achieved by sowing 4 seeds per spot in well drained sites, 50 - 70 mm below the soil and mulching in a small depression at the drip line of the south side of a suitable host plant[303 ]. The seedlings tend to die if their roots fail to attach to suitable hosts. The deaths therefore may be due to the inability to obtain some type of element for which the host is essential or the inability to take up sufficient nutrients to maintain growth[303 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

A plant of drier, lowland areas in the tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations from sea level to 500 metres[303 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 32 - 38°c, but can tolerate 7 - 45°c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -4°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 0°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 200 - 400mm, but tolerates 150 - 500mm[418 ]. Prefers a sunny position, but can tolerate some shade[303 ]. Succeeds on a variety of soils from calcareous red earths to red earthy sands in Western Australia to solonized brown soils and shallow calcareous loamy soils in South Australia[303 ]. Tolerates soil salinity[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7[418 ]. Requires a well drained soil[303 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[418 ]. The plant is partially parasitic and relies on host plants for only water and soil nutrients, not for sugars, which is why such it has green leaves and photosynthesizes[343 ]. Sandalwood trees are a root parasite on many species[303 ]. Some common recognized hosts are Eucalyptus salubris, Eucalyptus loxophleba, Casuarina cristata subsp. Pauper, Acacia aneura, Atriplex vesicaria, Pittosporum phillyreoides, Acacia acuminata, Senna siamea and Pongamia pinnata[303 ]. It normally has more than one host at a time[343 ]. Flowering is sporadic because of the irregular rainfall in most areas where the plant grows. Flowers are carrion-scented and nectariferous, attracting a wide range of insect pollinators[303 ]. Plants do not usually survive fires in the wild[303 ]. The estimated maturation time for the sandalwood in Kalgoorlie District, Australia is 50 - 100 years[303 ]. Sandalwood is harvested by uprooting trees from the ground[303 ]. The roots, stems and large branches are all utilized down to 2.5 cm diameter, dead sandalwood stems are also used[303 ].


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Seed. Cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

australian sandalwood, bois de santal d'australie, oil of australian sandalwood, western australian sandalwood.

Found In

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


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 : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Santalum acuminatumQuandongShrub0.0 -  LMHSNM11 
Santalum austrocaledonicumPacific SandalwoodTree10.0 10-12 SLMNDM014
Santalum ellipticumCoast SandalwoodTree5.0 9-12 SLMSND124
Santalum freycinetianumLanai Sandalwood, Hawaiian SandalwoodTree10.0 9-12 SLMSND124
Santalum haleakalaeHaleakala Sandalwood, LliahiTree3.0 9-12 SLMSND124
Santalum lanceolatum Shrub0.0 -  LMHSNM11 
Santalum murrayanum Tree0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Santalum paniculatumMountain Sandalwood, Hawaiian Sandalwood, 'IliahiTree7.5 10-11 SLMSND124
Santalum yasiYasi, Fijian Sandalwood, Brown SandalwoodTree10.0 9-12 SLMNDM024

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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(R.Br.) A.DC.

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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Subject : Santalum spicatum  
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