Sandoricum koetjape

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In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

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Related Links
Tree habit: Tree planted as understorey in a coconut plantation.
© Rafael T. Cadiz
Tree habit: Secondary forest stand.
© Rafael T. Cadiz
Plant at Ulumalu and Hana Hwy, Maui, Hawaii
© Forest and Kim Starr

Local names:
Burmese (thitto), English (sentol,santol,kechapi), Filipino (malasantol), French (faux mangoustan), Indonesian (sentul,kecapi,ketuat), Khmer (kôm piing riech), Lao (Sino-Tibetan) (tong,toongz), Malay (kecapi,kelampu,ranggu), Thai (kra thon,sa thon,katon,

Sandoricum koetjape is a deciduous, small to large tree, up to 45(-50) m tall. The tree bole is sometimes straight but often crooked or fluted, branchless for up to 18(-21) m and with a trunk diameter up to 100 cm. Buttresses up to 3m high. Bark surface smooth or sometimes flaky or fissured, lenticillate, greyish to pale pinkish-brown, inner bark pale brown or red-brown to pink, exuding a milky latex. The tree is interesting because it branches unusually low to the ground but has a compact crown.

Leaves trifoliate arranged spirally, exstipulate; leaflets entire.

Flowers in an axillary thyrse, bisexual, 4-5 merous; calyx truncate to shallowly lobed; petals free; staminal tube cylindrical, carrying 10 anthers; disk tubular; ovary superior, 4-5-locular with 2 ovules in each cell, style-head lobed.

Fruit a 1-5-locular drupe about the size of a clenched fist; pyrenes 1(-2)-seeded. Seed large, without aril and surrounded by a translucent or pale, acid, edible pulp of good flavour.

S. koetjape is a highly variable species and was formerly divided into 2 or 3 species based on the colour of the old leaves, however there appears to be no correlation with other characters and this distinction has been dropped.


S. koetjape is found scattered in primary or sometimes secondary rain forest. It also occurs in lowland dipterocarp forest.

Native range
Brunei, Cambodia, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam

Tree management

Seedling growth is fast.

Seedling exhibiting epigeal germination. Seeds have short viability, and a germination rate of 90-95% in 16-31 days.

S. koetjape is found scattered in primary or sometimes secondary rain forest. It also occurs in lowland dipterocarp forest.

Can be propagated by seed and vegetative means like budding, grafting, inarching, and marcotting. Seed however, cannot be stored for any length of time.

Poison:  The seeds of S. koetjape contain limonoids (antifeedant compounds).

The species is hardy and thrives without irrigation in areas with a prolonged dry season.

Erosion control:  The tree is important in soil conservation.

  The fruit is edible, being eaten fresh or processed into jam or chutney. The fruit is peeled, quartered and cooked in syrup to make delicious preserves.

Timber:  S. koetjape yields a lightweight to medium-weight hardwood with a density of 290-590 kg/m³ at 15% moisture content. Heartwood is pale red, yellowish-red or yellow-brown with a pink tinge, indistinct or distinguishable from the pale white or pinkish sapwood; grain straight or slightly wavy. 

Shade or shelter:  It gives an excellent shade.

Tannin or dyestuff:  The bark is used for tanning fishing nets.

Medicine: The pounded leaves are sudorific when applied to the skin and are used to make a decoction against diarrhoea and fever. The powdered bark is an effective treatment for ringworms, and contains triterpenes with anti-cancer activity. The aromatic roots are employed as an anti-diarrhetic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, antiseptic, astringent, stomachic and are prescribed as a general tonic after childbirth.

Ornamental: S. koetjape is planted for aesthetic purposes along avenues and in parks.

Poles from the tree are used for fencing.

Soil improver:  S. koetjape is known to form vesicular arbiscular mycorrhizae.