Index | Search | Home

new crop logo

Sindora supa Merrill


Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.

  1. Uses
  2. Folk Medicine
  3. Chemistry
  4. Description
  5. Germplasm
  6. Distribution
  7. Ecology
  8. Cultivation
  9. Harvesting
  10. Yields and Economics
  11. Energy
  12. Biotic Factors
  13. References


Freshly cut trees are said to yield ca 10 liters of a nondrying, limpid, light yellow, homogeneous, aromatic, slightly fluorescent oil, probably a mixture of sesquiterpenes. The oil is valued for illumination, for making varnishes, paints, and transparent paper, and for the adulteration of other oils. The oil is also used for caulking boats. Supa, the wood of this species, is prized for interior house trim, naval construction, furniture, and cabinetmaking. The sap-wood is cream-colored or pinkish; freshly cut heartwood is yellow, aging upon exposure to reddish brown. Difficult to work, the heavy wood is valued for its durability and pleasant aroma (Allen and Allen, 1981).

Folk Medicine

Supa oil is a popular folk remedy for eczema, herpes, ulcers, and other skin diseases in the Philippines.


"The oil is ... probably a mixture of sesquiterpenes." (Quisumbing, 1951).


Deciduous, straight, unbuttressed, unarmed, tree to 30 m tall. Leaves paripinnate, ca 15 cm long, with three pairs of leaflets, these elliptic, glabrous, coriaceous, 3.5–9 cm long, 2.5–5 cm broad. Flowers small, pedicellate in axillary or terminal panicles 10–15 cm long. Sepals 4, valvate; petal 1; stamens 9–10; anthers dorsifixed, longitudinally dehiscent. Pods broadly ovate, ca 4 cm long, 6 cm broad, opically beaked, basally rounded, with evenly spaced spinelike thorns. Seeds 1–3, black, shiny, with a large fleshy aril (Allen and Allen, 1981).


Reported from the Indochina-Indonesian Center of Diversity (endemic to Philippines), supa, or cvs thereof, is reported to tolerate slope. (x = 12 ?)


Endemic to the Philippines, found in low- to medium-altitude forests in Albay, Carmarines, Nueva Ecija, and Quezon provinces in Luzon and in Mindoro (Quisumbing, 1951).


Judging by its distributions I would guess that this is a species of the Tropical Moist Forest Life Zone.


The tree is not currently cultivated, apparently being harvested from the wild.


As Burkill (1966) puts it, the wood oil is obtained by the wasteful method of hacking the trunk and by cutting cavities in its base and subsequently firing them to increase the flow... The resin is formed in the wood at all depths, a circumstance which encourages the exploiter to destroy the tree more completely on account of his gain in going deeply.

Yields and Economics

Trees said to yield 10 liters oil each.


If the tree has been called the kerosene tree, perhaps this tree merits further study. If 100 trees per ha each yielded 10 liters "kerosene"/year renewably, the trees possibly merit as much attention as the "diesel" tree of Calvin, said to yield 40 liters a year.

Biotic Factors

Allen and Allen (1981) note that, so far, reports indicate no rhizobial nodules in these species, as might be expected in most caesalpinioids.


Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
Last update Friday, January 9, 1998 by aw