Santalum album L.
Family : Santalaceae
Common Name : ചന്ദനം (Mal)
: चंदन (Hin)
IUCN Status : Vulnerable (VU) ↓
Sandalwood is an evergreen tree, growing up to 4-9 m tall. The trees have a long life, and may live up to one hundred years of age. The tree is variable in habit, usually upright to sprawling, and may intertwine with other species. The plant parasitises the roots of other tree species, but without major detriment to its hosts. The reddish or brown bark can be almost black and is smooth in young trees, becoming cracked with a red reveal. The heartwood is pale green to white as the common name indicates. The oval leaves are thin, oppositely arranged. Smooth surface is shiny and bright green, with a glaucous pale underside. Fruit is produced after three years, viable seeds after five. These seeds are distributed by birds.
Evergreen trees, to 10 m high, bark surface dark grey to nearly black, rough. Leaves simple, opposite, 3.7-12 x 2-4 cm, elliptic, elliptic-ovate or ovate-lanceolate, apex acute, base acute or round, glaucous beneath; lateral nerves 8-13 pairs, pinnate, faint; petiole 12-18 mm long, slender, glabrous. Flowers bisexual, 5-6 mm across, reddish-purple, in axillary and terminal paniculate cymes, much shorter than leaves. Tepals 5, basally connate into a campanulate tube of 2 mm long, shortly connate to the basal part of the ovary; lobes 2.5 x 1.5 mm, ovate, thin, fleshy, glaucescent without, minutely ciliate; disc concave, adhering to the bottom of perianth, its lobes alternate with tepals. Stamens 5; filaments 1 mm; anthers 0.7 mm, ovoid, 2-celled. Ovary superior later half inferior at the time of flowering, globose, 1 mm, 1-celled, ovules 2-3, pendulous from below the long, acuminate, central column; style 1.5 mm, stigma 3 lobed. Fruit a drupe, 8-12 mm across, globose, blackish-purple, annulate above, beaked with the basal part of the style; seed one.
Use: Sandalwood oil was used traditionally to treat skin diseases, acne, dysentery, gonorrhea, and a number of other conditions. In traditional Chinese medicine, sandalwood oil is considered an excellent sedating agent.
Distribution : Peninsular India and Malesia to Australia
Flowering & Fruiting : November-December