Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Muell. - Arg.

Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Muell. - Arg.  (EUPHORBIACEAE)
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Common names
 Kannada: Kumkumada mara.
Malayalam: Manjana.
Sanskrit: Kampillake.
Tamil: Kamala, Kapli.
Telugu:  Kumkuma.

Description: Small, dioecious trees up to 9 m tall; branchlets rusty-tomentose. Leaves alternate, crowded near the tip, ovate, ovate-lanceolate or ovate-elliptic, up to 25 x 9 cm, rounded at base, acute or shortly acuminate at apex, glaucous and red-glandular beneath, 3-ribbed at base; petioles up to 6 cm long. Male flowers in axillary or terminal clustered spikes, pale yellow. Perianth lobes 4. Stamens numerous, free. Female flowers in short spikes. Perianth 3 or 4. Ovary red-glandular, 3-celled; styles 3. Capsules globose, ca 7 mm across, densely covered with crimson glandular pubescence, 3-valved. Seeds subglobose, blackish.

Flowering : June - September.
Fruiting : January.

Distribution: India: Throughout tropical Indian. Sri Lanka, Malaya Islands, China andAustralia.

Uses: Wood suitable for rafters, tool handles, matchboxes and small turnery articles like bobbins, cotton reels, penholders and rulers. It is a good fuel wood. The red powder (‘Kamala’) on the capsules furnishes valuable bright orange dye which is employed in dyeing silk and wool a bright flame-colour. It has also been used for colouring food stuffs and beverages, and as ‘Sindhur’ or ‘Kumkum’ by women. Leaves are used as fodder. Oil-cake can be used as manure. Kamal seed oil obtained by extraction with petroleum ether forms a good substitute for tung oil in the formulation of rapid drying paints and varnishes. The oil may also be employed in the formulation of hair fixis and ointments. Glandular hairs of the fruits yield the “Kamala powder” used in abdominal disorders, worm infection particularly for tapeworm, tympanites, constipation, polyuria, poisoning, disorders of kapha, wounds, urinary calculi, as purgative, styptic and in scabies, ringworm and herpes. The Ayurvedic preparations using this plant are “Krimighatini bati” and “Krimikuthar rasa” used as anthelmintic.