Mallotus philippensis, Fam. Euphorbiaceae
A bushy, shrub or small tree to approximately 20m, depending on growing conditions.
|Form or habit:||Shrub, Small tree|
Ovate to lanceolate, 6-20 x 4-10cm. Apex long-tapered, base rounded, margins entire, upper surface green and hairless, lowers surface grey-green and hairy with numerous tiny red glands; often with two raised glands at the base on the upper surface; 3 prominent veins. Petiole 2-5cm long, slender with minute hairs.
|Flower description:||Yellowish brown flowers, 1-3mm long, on racemes (clusters) up to 6cm, dioecious (separate male and female plants).|
|Fruit description:||A capsule, globular with 3 lobes, 6-9mm diameter. Powdery red glands cover capsule. 2-4 black brown seeds 3-5mm long.|
|Habitat:||Beach scrub, gallery (riverine or riparian) forest, littoral rainforest, open forest, vine thicket, woodland.|
|Distribution||Cape York to Hunter region of NSW.|
|Food source for:||Fruit are eaten by Lewin’s honeyeater and figbirds.|
|Origin:||Australia; South East Asia extending to Asia.|
|Notes:||The fruit produces the golden red dye “kamala” which is used for dying silk. This powder is also used in India to treat skin conditions. The seeds produce a thick, yellowish brown oil or semi-solid fat which in India is used as a substitute for tung oil in fast drying paints and varnishes.|
|Information sources:||Beasley J. (2009) Plants of Cape York., Melzer R. & Plumb J. (2007) Plants of Capricornia.|