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Schleichera oleosa - (Lour.) Oken.

Common Name Malay Lac Tree. Lac tree, Ceylon oak
Family Sapindaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Occurs spontaneously in dry, mixed deciduous forest and savannah with only scattered trees, sometimes gregariously[303 ]. Found at elevations from sea level to about 980 metres[418 ].
Range E. Asia - India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Schleichera oleosa Malay Lac Tree. Lac tree, Ceylon oak

Wikimedia.org - Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146)
Schleichera oleosa Malay Lac Tree. Lac tree, Ceylon oak
Wikimedia.org - Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146)


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Schleichera oleosa is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cussambium oleosum O.Kuntze Melicocca trijuga Juss. Pistacia oleosa Lour. Schleichera trijuga Willd.


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves  Oil  Shoots
Edible Uses: Oil

Young leaves and shoots - raw, cooked in soups or steamed and served with rice[301 , 303 , 451 ]. The ripe fruit is eaten raw[301 ]. A pleasantly acid flavour[272 , 303 ]. Unripe fruits are pickled[46 , 301 ]. The fruit is a broadly ovoid, ellipsoid to subglobular berry 15 - 25mm x 10 - 20mm[303 ]. An oil obtained from the seed, called macassar oil, is sometimes used for culinary purposes[301 , 303 ]. It contains cyanogenic compounds, which may cause giddiness and should be removed if the oil is used for human consumption[303 ]. Staple Crop: Oil.

References   More on Edible Uses

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.
Analgesic  Antitumor  Appetizer  Astringent  Malaria  Skin

Powdered seeds are applied to wounds and ulcers of cattle to remove maggots[303 ]. The bark is astringent and is used against leprotic ruptures, skin inflammations and ulcers, while an infusion is taken against malaria[272 , 303 ]. The bark contains about 10% tannin and the analgesic compound lupeol[303 ]. The antitumor agents betulin and betulic acid have also been isolated from it[303 ]. In traditional medicine, the oil obtained from the seed is applied externally to cure itching, acne and other skin afflictions[272 , 303 ]. Massaging the oil into the scalp is said to promote the growth of hair lost through baldness[272 ]. The pulp of the fruit is astringent and appetite inducing[272 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Dye  Fodder  Fuel  Hair  Lighting  Oil  Tannin  Wood

An oil extracted from the seed, called 'kusum oil', is a valuable component of true Macassar oil used in hairdressing[303 ]. It is also used for lighting purposes[46 , 272 , 303 ]. The oil is also used in the batik industry, and in southern India, as a cooling bath oil[303 ] The oil content of the kernel varies from 59-72%[303 ]. The oil is yellowish-brown and semi-solid and consists of oleic acid (52%), arachidic acid (20%), stearic acid (10%), gadoleic acid (9%)[303 ]. The bark contains about 10% tannin and a dye[303 , 418 ]. The heartwood is reddish to pinkish-brown; it is clearly demarcated from the sapwood. The wood is very hard, very heavy, very strong[46 , 303 , 451 ]. It is durable in water according to some reports[46 , 303 ], but not durable according to another[451 ]. It cracks very easily during seasoning[46 , 303 ]. It is difficult to work, being very hard to saw, though it can be planed to a very smooth surface which takes a high, lasting polish[303 , 451 ]. An excellent wood for making pestles, cartwheels, axles, ploughs, tool handles and rollers of sugar mills and oil presses, it is also used in house construction, ship building and musical instruments[303 , 451 ]. The wood is suitable as firewood and makes excellent charcoal[46 , 303 , 451 ]. The energy value of the wood is about 20 800 kJ/kg[303 ]. Fodder: Bank, Insect.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Fodder: Bank  Fodder: Insect  Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Oil

Plants succeed in tropical and subtropical areas, usually al low elevations but sometimes at up to 1,200 metres above sea level[303 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 30 - 42°c, but can tolerate 10 - 47°c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -4°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 2,300mm, but tolerates 750 - 2,800mm[418 ]. Succeeds in full sun and also in light shade[418 ]. Plants are tolerant of a range of soil types, so long as they are well drained, but grow best on deep, rich, acid soils that are rich in organic matter[200 ]. It grows on rather dry to occasionally swampy locations on various, often rocky, gravelly or loamy, well drained, preferable slightly acid soil[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7.8[418 ]. A fire-resistant tree[303 ]. Trees are dioecious. Male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seeds are required[303 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Fodder: Bank  Fodder banks are plantings of high-quality fodder species. Their goal is to maintain healthy productive animals. They can be utilized all year, but are designed to bridge the forage scarcity of annual dry seasons. Fodder bank plants are usually trees or shrubs, and often legumes. The relatively deep roots of these woody perennials allow them to reach soil nutrients and moisture not available to grasses and herbaceous plants.
  • Fodder: Insect  Plants grown for useful fodder insects.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Staple Crop: Oil  (0-15 percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Some of these are consumed whole while others are exclusively pressed for oil. Annuals include canola, poppyseed, maize, cottonseed, sunflower, peanut. Perennials include high-oil fruits, seeds, and nuts, such as olive, coconut, avocado, oil palm, shea, pecan, and macadamia. Some perennial oil crops are consumed whole as fruits and nuts, while others are exclusively pressed for oil (and some are used fresh and for oil).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - sow direct in thoroughly prepared soil[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Ai-dak, Bak kawe, Botanga, Busi, Chendala, Gausam, Gyo, Jamoa, Jendala chakota, Kaitxava, Karanchi, Khor, Kodalipulusa, Kohan, Kok khosom, Kolama, Kon, Konji, Koon, Koosambi, Kosam, Kosano, Kosum, Kosumb, Kosumba, Kula, Kusamo, Kussum, Kusum, Kusuma, Kusumb, Luk kawe, Maak kawe, Madaka-pulusu, Mai-hkao, Mai-kyang, Mavita-vitiki, Peduman, Pong roa, Pongro, Poovam, Poovathi, Posuku, Pulachi, Pulusura-marajati, Pumaratha, Pusku, Puvam, Puvathipuvam, Puvu, Rusam, Sagade kendala, Sagade-pusuku, Sama, Swad, Ta takror, Thakabti, Yun-ha

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Found In

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

Afghanistan, Africa, Asia, Australia, Cambodia, East Timor, Himalayas, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, SE Asia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, West Africa

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 : 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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Expert comment


(Lour.) Oken.

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 : Schleichera oleosa  
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