Beach nut, beauty leaf
Calophyllum inophyllum, Fam. Clusiaceae
Attractive, long lived tree, up to 35m tall, with low spreading branches. May be multi-stemmed, bole often twisted and bent. Brown to grey bark, initially scaly with boat shaped fissures, becoming very fissured.
|Form or habit:||Large Tree|
Simple, opposite, entire, elliptic or obovate, 8-20 x 4.5-11.5cm, leathery, glabrous, glossy dark green with yellowish main veins. Numerous fine, crowded lateral veins run parallel to one another from the midrib to the margin. Petioles exude milky sap when broken, sap becomes yellow on exposure, venation distinctive and beautiful on both live and dried leaves.
White, Yellow, Cream
|Flower description:||Upper axillary or terminal racemes of large, attractive, bisexual, white or cream flowers with numerous yellow stamens, fragrant. Summer to early winter.|
|Fruit description:||Green to brown, globose, drupes containing one seed. February to October.|
|Habitat:||Coastal dune, gallery (riverine or riparian) forest.|
|Distribution||Queensland, Northern Territory, New Guinea, Melanesia, Malesia, Asia, Pacific Islands.|
|Food source for:||Nectar eaten by the brown backed honeyeater. Larval food plant of the shining oak blue butterfly.|
|Toxicity:||Seed yield a poisonous oil.|
|Origin:||Australia, New Guinea, Melanesia, Malesia, Asia, Pacific Islands.|
|Notes:||Seed float and are commonly seen washed up on beaches, but may also be dispersed by bats. Propagate from seed, however seed germinate slowly. The thick, green, poisonous oil from the seed can be used to make a bright yellow soap. The tree has been grown in Philippine plantations for use in soap production. A yellow dye has been produced from the fruit. Some Aboriginal communities used a mixture of the ground seed and red pigment to treat body pain while oil from the seed was used as an emetic and laxative. In India, the oil from the seed has been used externally to treat rheumatism and leprosy. Pacific Islanders use the oil, mixed with coconut oil, for massage and as a hair product, and crushed leaves are used to make eyewash and to treat skin infections. Foliage has been used to poison fish. Frequently used in canoe making in Papua New Guinea because the trunks are often naturally curved in a suitable shape. The wood is highly prized in Polynesia.|
|Information sources:||Melzer R. & Plumb J. (2007) Plants of Capricornia.|