Sindora supa Merrill
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
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).
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, 3.59 cm long, 2.55 cm broad. Flowers small,
pedicellate in axillary or terminal panicles 1015 cm long. Sepals 4, valvate;
petal 1; stamens 910; anthers dorsifixed, longitudinally dehiscent. Pods
broadly ovate, ca 4 cm long, 6 cm broad, opically beaked, basally rounded, with
evenly spaced spinelike thorns. Seeds 13, 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
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.
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.
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
- Allen, O.N. and Allen, E.K. 1981. The Leguminosae. The University of Wisconsin
Press. 812 p.
- Burkill, J.H. 1966. A dictionary of economic products of the Malay peninsula.
Art Printing Works, Kuala Lumpur. 2 vols.
- Quisumbing, E. 1951. Medicinal plants of the Philippines. Tech. Bul. 16.
Philippine Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Manila.
Last update Friday, January 9, 1998 by aw