Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Oken

Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Oken  (SAPINDACEAE)
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Common names
Kannada: Jendala chakota, Sagade kendala.
Malayalam: Puvam.
Tamil: Kolama, Puvam, Puvatti.
English: Ceylon Oak tree, Lac tree.

Description:  Deciduous trees up to 25 m tall. Leaves alternate, paripinnate, up to 40 cm long; leaflets opposite, 2-4 pairs, elliptic, elliptic-oblong or oblong-lanceolate, up to 18 x 7.5 cm. rounded at base, obtuse to acute or rarely shortly acuminate at apex; young leaflets pink or red in colour. Flowers polygamodioecious, fascicled on axillary, up to 10 cm long, interrupted racemes, pale green. Calyx copular. Petals 0. Disc undulate. Fruits subglobose, up to 1.7 x 2 cm, crustaceous, indehiscent, tipped with the style, smooth or often with blunt prickles. Seeds 1-2, compressed, brown, enclosed in fleshy aril.

Flowering &  Fruiting: February – November.

Distribution: India: Throughout in subtropical, dry deciduous forests up to 1000 m. Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Uses: Raw fruits are pickled; the ripe ones possess acidic taste and are often eaten. Seeds are also eaten raw or roasted. Young shoots are also eaten. Kusum oil, a fatty oil obtained from the seeds is known in commerce as Macassar oil. Kusum oil is used for hair dressing. It is also used for culinary and lighting purposes and as a lubricant for machinery. For edible purposes, the oil should be properly refined and deodorized to remove cyanogenic glucosides. Wood is used for oil and sugar mills, rice pounders, pestles, axles and hubs, felloes and stocks of cart wheels, shafts, mortars, violin bows and agricultural implements such as yokes, ploughs and harrows, and for turnery articles. It is suitable for tool handles required for heavy working, such as hammers, pick axes etc. The treated timber is suitable for construction, cabinet work, beams, rafters, purlins, trusses, posts, sleepers and for wagon building. It is also used for road paving, block flooring in mills and godowns and as pit-props and side-props in shafts and galleries in mines. It makes good fuel and excellent charcoal. In a mixture with other woods, the wood yields pulp suitable for the manufacture of wrapping and writing paper. Young shoots are lopped for fodder. The oil cake has good manorial value. The tree is an important host for kusumi-lac and the finest quality of lac is obtained from this tree. Bark astringent, used in applications for itch, pain in the back and loin, inflammations and ulcers; seed oil anti-inflammatory, stimulates hair growth, used for massage in rheumatism, applied in acne, burns and other skin troubles; bark, seed and oil are also used in diseases of kapha and vata, boils, leprosy, ulcers blood disorders, uterine bleeding, intermittent fever and snake-bite poisoning. Powdered seed applied to ulcers of animals for removing maggots.