Characteristics of Tamanu Tree (Calophyllum inophyllum) in the Wild

Calophyllum inophyllum
Tamanu or Mastwood is a large tree species originating from tropical Asia and Wallacea. The tree is considered important because the wood is used to make traditional ships.

The spread of the Tamanu tree in prehistoric times began with the migration of Austronesians to the islands of Oceania and Madagascar, along with other members of the genus Calophyllum. Since then, this tree has been naturalized in other tropical regions such as the coast of East Africa.

In naming, Tamanu trees have quite several synonyms such as Borneo-mahogany, Laurelwood, Alexandrian laurel, Balltree, Beach touriga, Beach calophyllum, Beautyleaf, and Satin touriga.

Tamanu trees are currently widely cultivated in various countries in the world, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Tanzania.

In addition to being cultivated as a tree producing good quality wood, the Tamanu tree is also often used as an ornamental tree because of its fragrant flowers and lush leaves and fresh green.


Characteristics of Tamanu Leaf

Calophyllum inophyllum Leaf
Source : Kuo

The leaves are oval with wavy edges. Young leaves are bright green, while old leaves are dark green.


Characteristics of Tamanu Flower

Calophyllum inophyllum Flower
Source : and Kim Starr

The flowers are about 25 mm in size and appear in racemose or panic inflorescences of four to 15 flowers. The flower appears continuously, but is usually very dense in two periods, namely in late spring and late autumn.


Characteristics of Fruit

Calophyllum inophyllum Fruit
Source : Branse

The fruit is round, has green seeds with a diameter of 2-4 cm, and has one large seed. When ripe, the fruit is wrinkled and the color varies from yellow to brownish red.


Characteristics of Tamanu Tree

Calophyllum inophyllum Tree
Source :

Tamanu trees generally grow with many low branches, the crown is wide, irregular, and the height of the tree usually reaches 20 meters.

This tree is found naturally growing in coastal areas and lowland forests. However, it can be cultivated in areas of high altitude. Also, tolerate various types of soil, ranging from a sandy beach, clay, and even degraded land.

In addition to its strong, high-quality wood, the Tamanu tree is known for its fruit extraction called Tamanu Oil. However, the leaves and sap of this tree contain toxins that must be avoided.


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