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Vateria indica - L.

Common Name White Dammar
Family Dipterocarpaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found primarily as a canopy or emergent tree in the west coastal evergreen forests of India, it is also occasionally found in secondary evergreen dipterocarp forest in the south[338 ]. Found at elevations up to 1,200 metres[439 ].
Range E. Asia - India.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Vateria indica White Dammar

Vateria indica White Dammar


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A plant endemic to India and threatened by habitat loss, White Dammar or Vateria indica is a large, slow-growing, and evergreen tree reaching a height of about 40 m. The trunk is cylinder-shaped covered with light gray, smooth bark. The leaves are oval with a short point and red when young. The flowers are white, fragrant, and hand in drooping clusters. The fruit is a large and fleshy five-valved capsule.The seeds yield solid oil known as ?piney tallow? which can be used as food flavoring and as a ghee substitute. It can also be used as a fuel for lamps and in candlemaking.The bark is used to control fermentation when making alcoholic beverages. Resin from the bark is used as an incense in India and as an Ayurvedic medicine. The resin can be mixed with coconut oil and rolled into candles. It is also used for making imitation amber beads. The fruits and bark contain tannins. The wood is tough and hard and used for making canoes, vessel masts, and coffins.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Vateria indica is an evergreen Tree growing to 40 m (131ft) by 30 m (98ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


This name is unresolved.


Edible Uses

The seeds contain up to 50% of a solid oil known as 'piney tallow'[146 , 439 ]. This can be used for flavouring food and as a substitute or adulterant for ghee[439 ]. The bark is used to control fermentation in when making alcoholic beverages such as arrack and toddy[439 ].

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 tree has the same uses as pine resin[46 , 439 ]. An oil obtained from the seeds is valued locally as an external application to relieve rheumatism[439 ]. The bark is astringent[439 ].

Other Uses

Other Uses A resin is obtained from the tree by incising the trunk[46 ]. It is only slightly soluble in alcohol, but dissolves at once in turpentine and drying oils[439 ]. Like copal, it is chiefly used for making varnishes[439 ]. The resin can be mixed with coconut oil and rolled into candles (which burn with a dark, heavy smoke), and it is also used for making imitation amber beads[146 , 439 ]. The resin is said to occur in three forms compact piney, cellular piney and dark-coloured piney resin. The names sufficiently indicate their respective characters, which are said to be due to the mode of collection and the age of the tree The seeds contain a large quantity of a solid oil known as 'piney tallow'[439 ]. This can be used as a fuel for lamps and has been used to make candles[439 ]. The candles burn well, but are too soft[146 ]. The fruit contains 25% tannins[439 ]. The bark contains tannins[438 ]. The heartwood is light gray, the sapwood white with a tinge of red or grey[146 ]. The wood is tough and hard. It is not in much request, but is sometimes utilised locally for making canoes, the masts of native vessels and coffins[439 ].

Cultivation details

A tree of low to moderate elevations in the moist, monsoonal tropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,200 metres[418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 24 - 33?c, but can tolerate 17 - 38?c[418 ]. It can be killed by temperatures below 14?c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall of 2,500 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 2,000 - 3,500mm[418 ]. Succeeds in full sun and also, especially when young, in fairly dense shade[418 ]. Prefers a light, fairly fertile, well-drained soil[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6, tolerating 4.5 - 6.9[418 ].


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Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Piney varnish-tree, White dhup, Ajakarna, Safed damar, Kahruba, Chundrus, Guli, Telladamaru, Ral, Dhupadamaru, Vellei, Vellai-damar, Biladupa, Velleikuntricum, Pineymaram, Dhupmaram, Hoogadamara, Munda-dhupa, Saldhupa, Maddidhupa, Looguludhupa, Bilaguggala, Biladaamara, Vellakunturukkum, Payin, Peinimarum, Perumpiney, Payani, Veltha paini, Payia, Dammar, ajakar?a, chandras, dhupadamara, dupa, devdhupa, india cop tree, kungiliyam, karsya, mandadhupa, payin, raal, rala, safed damar, sandaras, sandras, saraja, sarja, sarja (exudate), sasyasumbara, sava, shakgachha, telladamaramu, tellaguggilarnu, vateria, vellai kundarakam, vellai kuntarakam, white damar tree, white dammar.

Found In

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

Asia, India, Sri Lanka,

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: Critically Endangered A1cd

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

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