Mallotus philippensis

Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Muell.Arg.

Family       : Euphorbiaceae

Common Name : ചെങ്കൊല്ലി (Mal)

: कामला (Hin)

: Monkey face tree(Eng)

IUCN Status : Least concern (LC)-

Kamala is a tree found throughout India. It has been in use as medicinal tree in India for ages. The tree can grow up to 10 m tall. Alternately arranged, ovate or rhombic ovate leaves are rusty-velvety. Male and female flowers occur in different trees. Female flowers are borne in lax spike like racemes at the end of branches or in leaf axils. Male flowers occur three together in the axils of small bracts. Capsule is trigonous-globular, covered with a bright crimson layer of minute, easily detachable reddish powder. Kamala is supposed to be a very useful tree. It is source of Kamala dye which is used in colouring silk and wool. It is used as anti-oxidant for ghee and vegetable oils. Oil is used as hair-fixer and added in ointment. Seed oil is used in paints and varnishes. Seed cake is used as manure.

Dioecious trees, to 12 m high, bark 4-5 mm thick, pale brown; branchlets, young leaves and inflorescence tawny or rusty pubescent. Leaves simple, alternate, 5-20 x 2-8 cm, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, apex acuminate or acute, base acute or round, margin entire or sparsely serrate, glabrous above, greyish pubescent to fulvous tomentose with minute red glands beneath; 3-ribbed from base, lateral nerves up to 6 pairs, prominent, intercostae scalariform; petiole 7-60 mm long, stout, swollen at base, fulvous-pubescent with 2 small sessile glands on each side of the submit. Flowers unisexual, brick red, in rusty puberulous, terminal spicate panicles. Male flowers: 4.5 mm across; tepals 4, lanceolate, stamens many. Female flowers: 4 mm across, tepals 3 or 4, thicker than in males, ovate-lanceolate; ovary with red glands, 3-celled; styles 3, to 3.5 mm long, papillose. Fruit a capsule, 7-8 mm across, globose, 3-lobed, loculicidally 3 valved, densely red-glandular, pubescent; seeds 1-4, globose, glabrous, black.

Use: According to Ayurveda, leaves are bitter, cooling and appetizer. Fruit is heating, Purgative, anthelmintic, vulnerary, detergent, maturant, carminative, alexiteric and useful in treatment of bronchitis, abdominal diseases, spleen enlargement etc.


Distribution : Indo-Malesia and Australia

Flowering & Fruiting : October-March