Characteristics of Leben Tree (Vitex pinnata) in the Wild

Vitex pinnata
Leben or Leban is a species of family tree Lamiaceae native to South and Southeast Asia. It includes trees that have slow growth with a maximum height of up to 20 meters and a trunk diameter of 1-2 meters. Leben is also still related to the Simpleleaf (Vitex trifolia) tree which is often used for bonsai in Indonesia.

Leben trees are found to grow the most in Indonesia and Malaysia covering the regions of Borneo, Sabah, Sarawak, and all provinces in Kalimantan. Outside of Indonesia and Malaysia, Leben trees have been noted to spread to India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

In addition to the name Vitex pinnata, the Leben tree also has a recognized synonym botanical name, namely Vitex pubescens and Vitex arborea.

In Indonesia, leben trees are called by different names in each region such as Kalimantan and Java, known as Amola, Amolaung, Gagil, Humulawan, Kalapapa, Kulimpapa batu, Kulimpapa simpor, Kulumpapa, Laban, Laben, Leban and Pagil. While outside Kalimantan and Java these trees are called Hiketaroe (Sumbawa), Pampa (Komodo Island), Kopiher, Aloban-batu, Aloban Kardoek and Bunga Aloban (Sumatra).


Characteristics of Leben Leaf

Vitex pinnata Leaf
Source : Sheila

The leaves grow opposite, compound, 20-25 cm long and 7-10 cm wide.


Characteristics of Leben Flower

Vitex pinnata Flower
Source : Ng

The flowers are about 8 mm in size, yellowish-white or purplish.


Characteristics of Leben Fruit

Vitex pinnata Fruit
Source : Khun Lo

The fruit is 6 mm in diameter and purplish-blue.


Characteristics of Leben Tree

Vitex pinnata Tree
Source : Teo

Leben trees can grow as high as 17-20 meters in the wild. The bark is cracked, rough, and pale yellowish gray.

The tree has very strong and durable wood, even if exposed to water or soil. The color of the wood is grayish brown and its density is around 930 kg per cubic meter.


The leaves and bark are used to treat colic, fever, and malaria.

The Leben tree is often used by its wood to make frames such as doors and windows, construction, railroad pads, and tool handles.


Leben trees can be propagated by seedlings or stem cuttings.


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