Claoxylon indicum (Reinw. ex Blume) Hassk.

Etymology Genus
From Greek; break (=Chlao) wood (=xulon); referring to the weak wood of this genus
Species Probably first described in India
Synonyms Melaleuca eriorhachis Gand., Melaleuca minor Sm.
Common Names Nappy Tree (= Lampin Budak)
Status Native: Common
Form Tree
Native Distribution India to south China down to Malesia

Diagnostic: Claoxylon indicum is a sun-loving tree commonly found along secondary forest edges or open areas. Its spirally arranged leaves are thin, large, soft and velvety; and comes with a long stalk. During flowering, spikes of flowers can be seen protruding out from the foliage (unfortunately my photo is not clear enough). However, a gentle touch of the leaves to feel its various characteristics is suffice for identification.

Interesting Facts: The Nappy Tree is so named as the large soft leaves are rumoured to be used as diapers. I was unable to verify the authenticity though. However, the leaves are known to be eaten as vegetables, and used traditionally as a laxative or as an ingredient for an asthma ointment to be rubbed on the chest (Jansen, 1999).

An adult Nappy Tree.   A sapling. Note the leaf arrangement and venation.
Male flowers.   Young fruits.


Jansen PCM. (1999) Claoxylon indicum (Reinw. ex Blume) Hassk. n: de Guzman, C. C. & J. S Siemonsma (eds.), Spices. Plant Resources of South-East Asia (PROSEA). Volume 13. 250 pp.

Posted on 1-Mar-2015 / Last Updated on 01-Mar-2015