Characteristics of Cockspur Thorn Tree (Maclura cochinchinensis) in the Wild

Maclura cochinchinensis
Cockspur thorn is a type of shrub that is still in the Moraceae family. It includes native Chinese flora, which then expanded to Indonesia, Malaysia, Queensland, and northern New South Wales in Australia.

In China, this tree is called N̂g-kim-kuì (黃金桂), iah-sī kiò chò Tāi-teng-hông(大 丁 黃), and chhì-Keh-á (刺 格仔) sī chi̍t-chióng si̍t-bu̍t. Meanwhile, in Thailand, he is known as Kae, Kong, Phrae, Yellow Sakae, Gallatin, Khor, Khian Kho, Thorn Khae, and Kalen.

The cockspur thorn tree inhabits tropical forests and rainforests. The fruit is a small round, yellow or orange in color, sweet and edible. The fruit is also a traditional source of food for the Aborigines.

Cockspur thorn was first described by Edred John Henry Corner (João de Loureiro) and published in The Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore in 1962.

This tree also has several recognized botanical names such as:

  • Maclura cochinchinensis var. gerontogea
  • Maclura gerontogea
  • Trophis spinosa
  • Vanieria cochinchinensis


Characteristics of Cockspur Thorn Leaf

Maclura cochinchinensis Leaf
Source : Tann

The duan is simple, ellipse to longitude, on average 3-8 x 2-2.5 cm.


Characteristics of Cockspur Thorn Fruit

Maclura cochinchinensis Fruit
Source : Thynne

The fruit is small round like a berry, 2-5 cm in size, yellow to reddish-orange, and turns brown when ripe.

The tree bears fruit from April to May.


Characteristics of Cockspur Thorn Tree

Maclura cochinchinensis Tree
Source : & Fauna of the Mid North Coast of NSW

The cockspur thorn tree can grow to a height of 5 meters and has glabrous branches with curved or straight spines 2 cm long (sometimes a few spines).

Cockspur thorns are found in Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang in China. Outside of its natural habitat, it also grows and naturalizes in Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bhutan, India, Burma, Nepal, Philippines, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

Cockspur thorn is commonly used in making bonsai in Southeast Asia.


In traditional medicine, cockspur thorn tree extract is used to cure fever, typhoid, diarrhea, lymphatics, tonic, and a diuretic. While the roots are antioxidants.


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