Characteristics of Santol Tree (Sandoricum koetjape) in the Wild

Sandoricum koetjape
Santol or Sentul (Sandoricum koetjape) is a fruit-producing tree of the genus Sandoricum that grows naturally in tropical Southeast Asia.

In each country, this tree has a different name, Santol, Sentul, and Cotton Fruit are used by people in English-speaking countries. While in Indonesia the tree and its fruit are known as Kecapi or Ketuat. It is also sometimes called Wild mangosteen by westerners, although the name Wild mangosteen refers to the Kokum or Kokam tree (Garcinia indica).

Santol is thought to have come from Indochina and the Malay Peninsula. Centuries ago, this plant was brought to India, Indonesia, Mauritius, and the Philippines, where it became popular and was widely grown and naturalized.

The santol tree is grown mainly for its fruit, which tastes sweet and sour and refreshing. The fruit is often eaten fresh or processed into food.

Toraja people in South Sulawesi use santol fruit as a spice in cooking fresh sour taste for fish sauce dishes.

In Filipino cuisine, grated skin is cooked in coconut milk with chunks of pork and chili and served as a Sinantolan.

In Thai cuisine, santol fruit is used to make som tam when the fruit is still not fully ripe, it is also one of the main ingredients in pork santol curry and shrimp santol curry.


A decoction of the leaves is used as a fever reducer.

The bark powder is used for the treatment of roundworms.

The roots are used to treat bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, as well as to strengthen a woman’s body after childbirth.


Characteristics of Santol Leaf and Flower

Sandoricum koetjape Leaf and Flower
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The leaves are compound, intermittent, stems about 15-18 cm long, pinnate with three leaves, oblong to an oval shape, leaf size 6-26 × 3-16 cm, rounded or slightly pointed at the base, tapering at the tip, shiny green at the bottom. above, dull green below. The leaflets are long-stemmed, much longer than the side-leaf petioles.

The flowers are in panicles in the axils of the leaves, hairy, hanging, up to 25 cm. Flowers androgynous, short-stemmed, petals 5, crown 5 strands, yellow-green, breech lanceolate, 6-8 mm, faintly fragrant.


Characteristics of Santol Fruit

Sandoricum koetjape Fruit
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Santol fruit is spherical, 5-6 cm in diameter, green when young, and turns yellow or reddish when ripe, with soft velvety hairs. The outer flesh of the fruit is thick and hard, fused to the skin, reddish, and slightly sour. The inner flesh of the fruit is soft and juicy, attached to the seeds, white, sour to sweet. Each fruit contains 2-5 seeds, large, slightly flattened oval, reddish-brown, and red seed pieces.


Characteristics of the Santol Tree

Sandoricum koetjape Tree
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The santol tree is a lush tree of medium to large size. On suitable land, the height can reach 35-40 meters, although generally in the yard it only reaches about 20 meters. The diameter of the lowest stem can reach a diameter of 1-1.2 meters, and gummy-like milk when injured.

The santol tree can tolerate long periods of drought, but it is more suitable to be planted at an altitude of 0-1,000 m above sea level and slightly damp (such as around rice fields or riverbanks) with deep organic soil for maximum fruit production.

The wood of the harp tree is of good quality as a house construction material, tool, or craft material because it is easy to work and polish.


Usually, this tree is propagated from seed and will produce fruit after 5-7 years of age, although some cultivated cultivars only require 3-4. Santol is a very productive tree. A mature tree can produce between 15,000 and 20,000 fruits per year.

The IUCN Redlist has categorized Sandoricum koetjape as Least Concern (LC).


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