Aglaia edulis

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Aglaia edulis


Tree up to 20 m, sometimes flowering at 4 m. Outer bark reddish- brown, yellowish-brown or greyish-green, flaking to expose orange-brown bark be- neath; inner bark pink or brown; sapwood pale brown, red or yellow; latex white. Leaves up to 44 cm long and 40 cm wide; petiole 3.5–9 cm, petiole, rachis and petiolules with few to den- sely covered with hairs or scales like those on the twigs. Inflorescences usually in the axils of the leaves, sometimes borne on the older wood of twigs. Petals 5(–7). Petals (4 or) 5. Staminal tube cup shaped, 0.5–1 mm long, up to 1.3 mm wide, thickened inside below the insertion of the anthers, aperture 0.6–1 mm, margin lobed; anthers 5 (6), 0.4–0.5 mm long, 0.2–0.5 mm wide, ovoid, inserted half way down the tube, either included and visible or protruding through aperture, sometimes dehiscent in the lower half only. Staminal tube 1 mm long, cup shaped, aperture c. 1 mm, anthers 5, c. 0.5 mm long and 0.4 mm wide, included or protruding from the aperture of the staminal tube; otherwise like the male. Fruits up to 3 2 cm long and 3.8 cm in diam., subglobose with a central depression at the apex, grey or greenish-brown when unripe, dull orange or brown or yellow when ripe; peri- carp 3–6 mm thick, woody or granular, often with numerous warts, with numerous to densely covered with small pale brown or nearly white peltate scales which have a fim- briate margin, pale brown on the outside and rugulose inside, sometimes with white latex. Seed pale brown with a complete, thick, sour, juicy, translucent, white or orange-brown edible aril, up to 2 mm thick; seed without aril 14–20 mm long, 10–19 mm wide and 5–9 mm through, with the main vascular bundle running through the raphe and antiraphe, divaricately branching from the raphe over the sides of the seed; cotyledons subequal, obliquely transverse.


Asia-Temperate, Asia-Tropical: Borneo present; Cambodia (Cambodia present); East Himalaya (Bhutan present); India present; Jawa (Jawa present); Lesser Sunda Is. (Bali present); Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia present); Maluku (Maluku present); Philippines (Philippines present); Sulawesi (Sulawesi present); Sumatera (Sumatera present); Thailand (Thailand present); Vietnam (Vietnam present), Burma present, Lombok present, Nicobar Islands, present
India, Bhutan, Nicobar Islands,, Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand; Malesia: Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Philippines, Celebes, Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali, Lombok), Moluccas.


Aglaia edulis is the only species in section Aglaia which nearly always has a 3–locular ovary. The fruit is up to 3.5 cm in diameter, subglobose, with a thick pericarp, and a seed which has a thick white edible aril in each of the three locules. However, some specimens have one large seed and a thin, brittle pericarp. Similar vari- ation in fruit occurs in several other species in section Aglaia (e.g. A. korthalsii and A. elliptica) and in A. lawii in section Amoora. The taxonomic status of the variants re- quires further investigation. In Java, the distinction between this species and another variable species, A. lawii, which belongs to section Amoora, is not always clear. The main area of confusion is in ‘A. latifolia’. From the flower structure, Miquel’s plant appears to belong to A. edulis; ‘A. latifolia var. teysmannii" is similar to the type variety in indumentum, but it also closely resembles A. lawii from Java. Both A. edulis and A. lawii have 3–locular fruits in Java, the main difference lying in whether or not they dehisce and in the type of aril, neither of which can be seen in herbarium specimens of ‘A. latifolia var. teysmannii". The fruit in the illustration of ‘A. latifolia’ in Koorders, Atlas, based on Koorders 4693 anc 4735, is shown as just dehiscent; this could represent either the fruit of A. lawii, which dehisces on the tree or the fruit of A. edulis, with three longitudinal ridges on the per carp where the ripe fruit probably splits when it is over-ripe or if pressure is applied to the pericarp.

The resolution and full description of this complex, and the determination of the tax- onomic status of the synonyms included here, would best be achieved by careful study, documentation and collection of local variants in the field throughout its range and espe- cially of surviving populations in India and Java. It is particularly important that male and female flowers and ripe fruits are collected from each population whenever possible.


Fruit (aril) edible . Peri- carp taken against diarrhoea. In China the wood is said to be red, light in weight and used in making cargo boat boards.


Roxb. 1832 – In: Carey, Fl. Ind. 1. 637.
Miq. 1868 – In: Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugd.–Bat. p 44
Pannell 1992 – In: Kew Bull., Add. Ser. 229.
Hassk. 1844: Cat. Hort. Bogor. p 220
Backer & Bakh. f 1965 – In: Fl. Java. 128.
Backer & Bakh. f 1965 – In: Fl. Java. 129.
Hiern 1875 – In: Hook, f., Fl. Brit. India 1. p 556
Backer & Bakh. f 1965 – In: Fl. Java. 128.
Koord. 1913 – In: Atlas. t. 158, but fruit drawn dehisced