Characteristics of Malabar Ebony Tree (Diospyros malabarica) in the Wild

Diospyros malabarica
Malabar ebony or Gaub tree (Diospyros malabarica) is a species of tree in the family Ebenaceae, native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

In Indonesia, this tree is known as Culiket or Kleco. The tree is considered haunted and is usually allowed to grow large in burial areas or places of worship.

This tree is referred to as Tinduka by Sanskrit writers.



The bark, leaves, flowers, and fruit are used in Ayurvedic medicine.

The ripe fruit is useful for treating diarrhea and dysentery, blood diseases, gonorrhea, and leprosy. The fruit is also said to reduce fever, an antidote to snake venom and reduce pain.

The juice of the fresh bark is useful in the treatment of dengue fever. Externally, the bark is said to be a good application for treating boils and tumors.

The seeds are used as a treatment for diarrhea and chronic dysentery.

The unripe fruit and leaves are a source of tannins that are used to dye silk and other fabrics black.

Wood is used in making guitars because of its distinctive pattern.

The Malabar ebony tree is sometimes grown as an ornamental tree, valued primarily for its striking appearance when fruiting.


Characteristics of Malabar Ebony Leaf

Diospyros malabarica Leaf
Source: Khare

The leaves are alternate, 7-32 cm long, initially pink, and gradually turn cream, then dark green.


Characteristics of Malabar Ebony Flower

Diospyros malabarica Flower
Source: Khare

The flowers that appear in the axils of the leaves are creamy-white and fragrant.


Characteristics of Malabar Ebony Fruit

Diospyros malabarica Fruit

The fruit is green when unripe and turns yellow to orange when ripe, round, 5-7 cm in diameter, containing up to 6 seeds within the soft flesh. When the fruit is unripe, it can contain large amounts of tannin and be very astringent.


Characteristics of Malabar Ebony Tree

Diospyros malabarica Tree

Malabar ebony is a tropical humid lowland tree, where it is often found in shady and wet places near streams in forests at elevations up to 500 m asl. This tree can grow as high as 30 meters with a rootstock diameter of 1 meter or more.

Grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are in the 25-35 °C range but can tolerate 10-40 °C. The Malabar ebony tree prefers an average annual rainfall in the 1,500-2,500 mm range but tolerates 1,000-3,000 mm.

Malabar ebony trees can grow in a variety of soils from shallow to deep soil, and from alkaline to neutral pH soils. It can also survive in the shade or sun.



The seeds have very short viability so they should be sown as soon as possible. Sow the seeds in a shady position with soil mixed with fine sand in a ratio of 3:1. Seeds are planted horizontally or vertically with a planting depth of 1-2 times the thickness of the seed. Usually, the seeds will germinate after one week.

Diospyros malabarica seeds are very sensitive to drying during germination and early growth, so they must be watered regularly.

Fresh seeds have a high percentage of fertility. Seedlings develop a long taproot in the early stages, often before shoot elongation occurs. Seedling growth is very slow.


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