Beauty Leaf (Calophyllum inophyllum L.), tree: a tree with great economic potential

Calophyllum inophyllum L. (Clusiaceae) commonly known as Alexandrian laurel or beauty leaf or Domba (in Sri Lanka) is essentially a littoral tree of the tropics, occurring above the high-tide mark along sea coasts of northern Australia and extending throughout Southeast Asia and southern India (Agroforesrey Database 2007).The tree is native to both Australia and Sri Lanka. For many years it has been used by indigenous communities and alternative medicine practitioners. It also has a high demand for its seed oil from cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

It is a high potential bio-diesel plant. Seed yields 65% oil from its dry weight 3744 kg/ha from 400 trees (Azam et al. 2005). It has the highest per tree oil yield from 75 plant species tested so far. It can be used in conventional diesel engines (without any alterations) in its pure form or as a blend with mineral oil (Agarwal 2006).
It is also a durable multi-purpose timber (density 560-900kg/m³) (Timber Species Notes, DPI Queensland 2007).With recently discovered plant properties (anti-HIV and anti-cancer active compounds), Calophyllum inophyllum can be placed amongst the most important multi-purpose trees.

This paper reviews various economically important uses and services of Calophyllum inophyllum L. and areas for future research. This also outlines an ongoing research project “Provenance variations in ecophysiology, growth, performance, seed oil and Calocoumarin-A (anti-cancer agent) content of Calophyllum inophyllum L.” that is being carried out in Queensland, Australia and in Sri Lanka.

Subhash Hathurusingha and N. Ashwath
Centre for Plant and Water Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton QLD 4702,
Australia

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