Characteristics of White Champaca Tree (Magnolia alba) in the Wild

Magnolia alba
White champaca (Magnolia alba) is a species of flowering plant that originates from hybrids, commonly cultivated in Southeast Asia and tropical regions in East Asia. Although the exact origin is unknown, the tree is considered a hybrid of Yellow champaca (Magnolia champaca) and (Magnolia montana).

In Indonesia, the name of the tree is known as the Cempaka Putih, while the flowers are called Kantil or Bunga Kantil. Whereas in Hawaii the flower is called by the name of Pak Ian’ and in the United States and English-speaking countries, it is called White Fragrant Himalayan champaca, White champaca, and White sandalwood.

The flowers have a fragrant aroma that is often used in conjunction with Jasmine (Jasminum sambac) flowers to make bouquets, especially those worn on brides during traditional wedding ceremonies in East and Southeast Asia.

Unlike in Taiwan, the White champaca flower there is arranged to resemble a strung hanging flower and is sold to air freshener inside the car. That’s because the scent of the White champaca flower is very pungent and defeats other unpleasant aromas, also the fragrance can last for several days.


Characteristics of White Champaca Leaf

Magnolia alba Leaf
Source: Gercens

The leaves are oval, slender, 15-25 cm long, and 4-9 cm wide.


Characteristics of White Champaca Flower

Magnolia alba Flower
Source : Snapp

White champaca flowers are very fragrant and contain essential oils consisting of cheraniol, linalol, methuleugenol, benzat acid, nerol, and methulaethulazijnzuur.


Characteristics of the White Champaca Fruit

Magnolia alba Fruit
Source : Forest

The fruit is edible and tastes rather bitter, shaped like a heart.


Characteristics of the White Champaca Tree

Magnolia alba Tree
Source : Is A Beautiful Day

White champaca tree can grow into a medium tree with a height of 20-25 meters. It lives in dry forests with deep soil and is tolerant of drought.


The wood can be used as furniture and household appliances. However, furniture made from White champaca wood is very rare, because of the large number of large trunks of White champaca trees that are rarely in the wild.

The White champaca tree is generally cultivated for flowering which can be extracted into essential oils.

In Indonesia and some Southeast Asian countries, champaca flowers are closely associated with magic, and varieties with red flowers (which are very rare and expensive) are used in shamanic rituals.


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