Macaranga tanarius

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Related Links
Habit at Waikapu stream, Maui, Hawaii
© Forest and Kim Starr
Leaves and flowers at Mokulele Hwy, Maui, Hawaii
© Forest and Kim Starr

Local names:
English (hairy mahang), Filipino (kuyonon,himindang,binunga), Indonesian (tutup ancur,hanuwa,mara,mapu), Javanese (tutup ancur), Malay (ka-lo,kundoh,mahang puteh,tampu), Thai (ka-lo,hu chang lek,mek,paang,lo khao), Vietnamese (hach dâu nam)

Macaranga tanarius is a small- to medium-sized dioecious tree up to 20 m tall, usually much shorter; branches rather thick, glaucous, pubescent when young.

Leaves alternate, blade peltate, suborbicular, 8-32 x 5-28 cm, rounded at the base, acuminate at the apex, entire, sometimes denticulate or slightly lobed, with distinct veins, hairy when young; petiole 6-27 cm long, with large caducous stipules at the base.

Flowers in axillary, paniculate inflorescences, composed of bracts enclosing clusters of flowers; male flowers minute, many in a cluster with (min. 3) 5-6 (max. 10) stamens, female flowers few in a cluster, with a subovoid, glandular, 2-celled ovary and 2 large stigmas.

Fruit a bicoccus capsule, about 1 cm in diameter, with long,soft prickles, yellowish, glandular outside. Seeds globose, about 5 mm in diameter, rugose.

The generic name is after a native name from Madagascar.


A very fast-growing pioneer species, M. tanarius is often common in secondary forests, especially in logging areas. It is also found in thickets, brushwood, village groves and beach vegetation.

Native range
Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand, Vietnam

Seed storage behaviour is orthodox. There are approximately 54 500 dry seeds/kg.

A very fast-growing pioneer species, M. tanarius is often common in secondary forests, especially in logging areas. It is also found in thickets, brushwood, village groves and beach vegetation.

Macaranga can be propagated from seed. Seeds sown with adhering pulp have a germination rate of about 50% in 24-72 (max. 265) days.

 In Sumatra, fruit are added to palm juice when it is boiled down into crystals, improving the quality of the sugar produced.

Good firewood is provided by Macaranga tanarius.

Fibre: Macaranga yields a high-quality pulp and produces high-quality particleboard.

Timber: The timber is soft and light, about 500 kg/cubic m air-dry. It is not durable or resistant to termite attack but is fairly tough. The grain is straight or only shallowly interlocked, with a moderately fine and even texture. Pepper growers in southern Sumatra use it to make temporary ladders to harvest their crop.

Tannin or dyestuff: The bark contains tannin, which is used for toughening fishing nets. Nets dipped in a decoction of the bark will stand the influence of seawater for a considerable amount of time. In Indonesia, the leaves have been reported to dye matting black, like other Euphorbiaceae. 

Gum or resin: In Indonesia and the Philippines, the gum tapped from the bark is used as a glue, particularly for joining parts of musical instruments. 

Alcohol: Bark and leaves are widely used in the Philippines in the preparation of a fermented drink called ‘basi’ made from sugarcane.