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
Family Euphorbiaceae
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


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.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2015-03-01 / Modified: 2018-11-29