Flora of the Nilgiris

Family : Flora of Nilgiri Biosphere (Northern Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve)

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Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Oken

Leaf arrangement

Alternate distichous

Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

Oblong, Elliptic

Leaf Apex


Leaf Base


Leaf Margin


Habit : A large deciduous tree.

Habitat and Distribution : Common on hills above 500 m. Tropical Himalaya, India, Burma, Thailand, Indo-China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka.

Indigenous Information : Fruits edible also by Monkeys and by Spotted Deer. Elephants feed on the leaves. Wood is used for fire wood. Bark is used for medicinal and preparation to cure fever.

Other relevent information : The aril of the fruit is edible and the seeds yield oil. Wood is used to make rice-pounders . The best lac is produced on its twigs.

Field Tips : Leaves bright red when young. Bark grey. Wood very hard, light reddish-brown.


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English : Ceylon Oak, Lac tree
Irula : Pulipoosa
Tamil : Puvan
Hindi : Kusam
Malayalam : Puvam


In slender panicles, cream to yellowish. Flowering from March-April.

Fruit :

A drupe, ovoid, smooth or slightly prickly. Seed 1-2, ovoid, with a fleshy aril. Fruiting from April-May.

All from Flora of Nilgiri Biosphere (Northern Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve)