Characteristics of Sulim Wood Tree (Leptospermum javanicum) in the Wild

Leptospermum javanicum
Sulim wood or Ki tanduk sometimes also called Gelam Bukit and Papua Wood is a shrub species of a member of the Myrtaceae tribe that usually grows on mountain slopes.

Sulim wood trees are widespread in the Malesia region, including Sumatra, Java, Flores, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Maluku, then outside Indonesia through the Malay Peninsula, Burma, the Philippines, to the north coast of Queensland in Australia.

The tree is often found in areas with thin, sandy, rocky soil in the high mountains. Sulim wood trees are recorded growing from an altitude of 50 m above sea level in Java and are only found in mountains with an altitude of 1,200-3,000 m above sea level. In Sulawesi, this tree is known to grow to an altitude of 3,400 m above sea level on Mount Latimojong.


Characteristics of Sulim Wood Leaf

Leptospermum javanicum Leaf

The leaves are intertwined, fragrant like pine, fragrant when crushed, green at the top and grayish at the bottom, 10-30 cm long, and 3-9 mm wide.


Characteristics of Sulim Wood Flower

Leptospermum javanicum Flower

The flowers are solitary, clustered up to 4 buds, appearing on branches, 15-20 mm in diameter, short-stemmed, blunt petals, white-crowned, and fragrant.


Characteristics of Sulim Wood Fruit

Leptospermum javanicum Fruit
Source: Cumming

The fruit is hard woody, small, shaped like an inverted cone, 5-5 x 6-7 mm in diameter, when ripe, the tip opens with a gap wide enough to release ribbon-shaped seeds.


Characteristics of Sulim Wood Tree

Leptospermum javanicum Tree
Source: Cumming

Sulim woody trees can grow to reach a height of 10-12 meters in the wild, with trunks that are usually bent and bumpy and have many branches. The tree is tough, it can grow on very little soil, is dry, and is poorly nourished, although its growth will dwarf (less than 1 meter).

The wood is very hard, with a sticky stem that breaks, has long grooves, and is gray. Sulim wood is often used for construction and making tools.


Chemical content in the sulim wood tree has proven potential as anti-lung cancer.

The leaves have an aromatic fragrance, and in the past, many brewed as a drug to treat dizziness.

Sulim wood leaves can also be extracted to get essential oils, which can be inhaled to relieve sore throat, or rubbed on the skin to cure gout.

In the Malay Peninsula, sulim wood leaf extract is claimed to contain essential oils of terpinene, pinen, and karyofilen in a composition that varies according to the place of growth.


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