Saturday, October 9, 2010

Alstonia angustiloba - Pulai

Alstonia angustiloba Miq. ( synonym : Alstonia angustiloba var.glabra Koord. & Valeton., Alstonia calophylla Miq., Alstonia iwahigensis Elmer, Paladelpha angustiloba ( Miq.) Pichon ) is a species of evergreen tree in the Apocynacee family originated from S.E.Asia.  It is commonly called common pulai, pulai bukit, pulai lilin, pulantan bubur, pantung,  tombailik, gite, hanju latung, etc.

The name ‘Alstonia’ was named by Robert Brown in 1811, after Charles Alston (1685-1760), a Professor of botany at Edinburgh from 1716-1760.  ‘angustiloba’ means small lobes.

A fat-growing, medium-seized tree capable to reach up to 45m in height.  At full size, develop fluted buttresses.  Often split into two or more upright stems.  Outer bark brown , rough.  White latex in trunk and leaves when cut.  
Leaves are simple whorled.  Leaf oblong, tip obtuse to acute,  Petiole 10-20mm long.
Flower hermaphroditic.  Inflorescence terminal, flower white, tubular.  Usually 2 umbels above each other.
Fruits long thin follicles, seeds with tufts of hair at both ends, dispersed by wind.

The trees are often deciduous at irregular intervals.  
They do not flower at every leaf-change, but only after marked periods of dry weather.  Pollination is by insects.

Propagation is by seeds. Germination of fresh seed is nearly 100%.  Cleft grafting and inverted T-grafting also have been found to be successful.


Food : The latex provides a good quality chewing gum. 

Timber : The wood yield a good quality pulp for paper production.   It is used for pencil, matches, crates, patternmaking, corestock, plywood, carving and mouldings.  In Ceylon, coffins are made of this light wood. 

Landscape : It is also used in landscape as ornamental tree.  

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