Horsfieldia sylvestris

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Horsfieldia sylvestris


Tree 7-40(-60) m. Leaves (thinly) chartaceous, lanceolate(-lin-ear), (17-)20-45 by 3-7(-9) cm, base rounded to short-attenuate, apex long acute-acuminate; Inflorescences with woolly hairs 0.5-1 mm, or late glabrescent; Fruits 2-10 per in-fructescence, ellipsoid, base and apex sometimes ± acute on drying, 3.4-5.5 by 2.5-3.5 cm, glabrous, without or with few coarse tubercles;


Aru Is present, Asia-Tropical: Maluku (Maluku present); New Guinea present, Milne Bay Prov absent, Morobe absent, Morotai to Kai Is present, Papua New Guinea present
Malesia: Moluccas (Morotai to Kai Is.), Aru Is., New Guinea (not known from Morobe and Milne Bay Prov. of Papua New Guinea).


2 Warburg placed H. sylvestris and H. ralunensis in his section Orthanthera, which also included H. iryaghedhi from Sri Lanka, on account of the elongate angular male buds clustered into flower heads. The first two species, however, have the flowers clustered only in immature inflorescences, and are not closely related to H. iryaghedhi. 1 Horsfieldia sylvestris is a homogeneous species, and only varies in hairiness. Very hairy specimens were described as var. villosa by Warburg.

Sterile specimens may be confused with H. hellwigii, a species usually with narrower leaves, subglobose (not clavate) male buds, and smaller and hairy fruits; in H. sylvestris the fruits generally are larger, and always glabrous.


The wood is heavy, easily worked, not very durable. Fruits (sour taste) edible (Sepik Prov.). The fruit wall is used in rodjak, and in manisan (a sweet pickle) (Moluccas). Extract of bark is used as a drug against 'penyakit keputihan' by pregnant women, also against hepatitis (Moluccas). The fruits are gathered and eaten by the Gogodala tribe (Papua New Guinea, Western Prov.); also planted near villages. Fruits eaten by birds (e.g., pigeons, parrots), apparently swallowed whole. The tree is recorded as beautiful, and recommended as an ornamental. The many vernacular names indicate that the tree is widely known by local people.


Willd. 1806 – In: Sp. PL: 871
J. Sinclair 1975 – In: Gard. Bull. Sing.: 142
King 1891: p. 329. – In: Ann. Roy. Bot. Gard. Cale.: pl. 170
W.J. de Wilde 1985: p. 84. – In: Gard. Bull. Sing.: f. 11
Roxb. 1832 – In: Fl. Ind.: 846