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Volume 14 No. 1
January – April 2002

Melia azedarach Linn.

Caesalpinia sappan L.

Compiled by

Helen B. Florido
Priscilla B. de Mesa
Lydia P. Pader
Fe F. Cortiguerra

This issue features two important tree species – Paraiso and Sibukao. Paraiso (Melia
azedarach L.) is a multipurpose species which is not as popular as its two closely-related
species, the Bagalunga and the Neem tree, but the PENRO Office in Siquijor has
discovered its beauty and importance as an ornamental. The tree is appreciated for its
dense foliage and showy tiny purple fragrant flowers.

Aside from being an ornamental species, Paraiso has economic potentials. The different
parts of the tree, its wood, leaves and seeds have various uses from agricultural,
medicinal, construction and many others. Plant growers or plant lovers could propagate
this species as an additional source of income.

Sibukao (Caesalpinia sappan) on the other hand, is one of the best fuelwood species
which is gaining popularity in the Visayas. It is claimed to be at par or even better than
the once popular Ipil-ipil (Leucaena leucocephala Lam. De wit). Growing Sibukao is a
good investment considering that the maintenance of natural plantations needs minimal
or no cost at all. Because of its many uses, marketing this species is not a problem. In
the Visayas, Sibukao is even more saleable than Ipil-ipil. Moreover the demand for
fuelwood is expected to increase in the coming years, thus, there is a need to establish
plantations particularly on fuelwood species. With this information, we enjoin farmers to
plant the species for fuelwood production.


Melia azedarach Linn.

Compiled by:
Helen B. Florido and Priscila B. de Mesa

Local name: Paraiso (Tagalog, Spanish)

Common name: Mangalingau (Lanao); Pulaw (Hanunoo)

Other common names:

China berry, Persian lilac, pride of India, China tree, pride of China,
umbrella tree, umbrella China berry, Indian lilac, beadtree (English);
bakain, drek, dek, pejri, padrai (India); bakainu (Nepal); thamaga
(Burma); mindi (Java); inia (Hawaii); alelaila (Puerto Rico); jacinto
(Panama); aleli (Venezuela); West Indian lilac, lilac (West Indies);
lilas (Haiti French); cinnamumo (Brazil); bois rouge (New Celedonia).

Scientific name: Melia azedarach Linn.

Family: Meliaceae


Paraiso is a small-to medium-sized deciduous tree, 5 to 15 m tall and 30 to 60 cm in

diameter. It has a spreading, dense and dark green crown. Its bark is dark or reddish
brown, smooth, and becoming fissured. The leaves are alternate. Leaflets have short
stalks and are thin, hairless, dark green on the upper surface and paler underneath.
They emit a pungent smell when crushed. Flowers are purple and fragrant. Fruits or
berries are yellow, nearly round, smooth, and fleshy. They are as hard as stone,
containing 4 to 5 black seeds.


Paraiso is native to tropical Asia. It is widespread and naturalized in most of the tropics
and subtropical countries. It was introduced and naturalized in the Philippines and now
cultivated even in Manila.

Site Requirements

y Soil : Paraiso is adaptable to all types of soil.

y Temperature : The species thrives in the tropics and warm temperate zones. Young
trees can survive at low temperature, mature trees reportedly can
stand a temperature of 15oC. It is recommended for areas with a mean
annual temperature of 18oC.
y Altitude : Paraiso grows at an elevation of up to 200 m in the Himalayas.
y Rainfall : An annual rainfall of 600 to 1,000 mm is needed for good growth.
However, reports showed that the species can grow in some areas in
Thailand with six months dry season.


y Tree : Ornamental, windbreak, and for reforestation projects.

y Wood : Timber, fuelwood, furniture, cabinetry, boxes, tool handles, agricultural
implements, turnery, toys, decorative veneers, plywood, and paper
y Leaves : Leaf extract has insecticidal property (azadirachtin) that repels insects
in clothing. The leaves can also serve as feeds for goats.
y Seed oil : The oil is the most active medicinal product of the plant. It is used as
antiseptic for sores and ulcers which show no tendency to heal. It is
also used for rheumatism and skin diseases such as ringworm and
scabies. Internally, the oil is useful in malaria fever and leprosy.

Cultural practices

y Seed collection and storage:

Collect the fruit from the trees when its color turns yellow or brown. Soak in tap water
to soften the pulp. Remove the pulp, wash, and air-dry the seeds. Keep in sealed
container or store at 30oC for six months. They can also be placed in sacks for a
period of one year without affecting seed viability.

Plantation establishment

y Nursery phase:

Propagation : Seeds and cuttings

Germination : Germination is 65%-80% in 20 to 60 days. Soaking seeds for 12 days

in tap water shortens germination time, but it often germinates without

Seeds are sown in seedbeds/boxes filled with potting medium at a ration of 1:1:1 (sand
+ dried organic matter + garden soil) with a spacing of 5 cm x 7 cm and
covered with 2 to 3 cm soil.

y Plantation phase:

Outplanting : After six months, seedlings can be outplanted in the field.

Care and harvest : Paraiso has a short life span and needs to be replaced after 20
years. Short rotation is recommended.

Pests and diseases

Shoot borer problems was observed in Jamaica. In other countries, the effects of pests
and diseases were found insignificant.


Agroforestry Species for the Philippines. 1988. Edited by F.E. Hansleigh and B.K.
Holaway. AJA Printers. Pp. 219-222.

Little, Elbert Jr. L. 1988. Common fuelwood crops. A handbook for their identification.

Quisumbing, Eduardo. 1978. Medicinal plants of the Philippines. Katha Publishing Co.,
Inc. 1262 pp.

Caesalpinia sappan L.

Compiled by:
Helen B. Florido, Lydia P. Pader and Fe F. Cortiguerra

Common name: Sibukao

Local names: Sapang (Ilocos Sur, La Union, Tayabas, Bataan, Rizal); Sibukao (La
Union, Bataan, Laguna, Guimaras Island, Negros, Mindoro, Quezon
Province, Bicol Region, Zamboanga, Basilan).

Scientific name: Caesalpinia sappan L.

Family: Caesalpiniaceae


Sibukao is a small tree that reaches a height of 8 to 10 m high and a diameter of 30 to

40 cm at maturity (eight years old). Its trunk and branches have spines that distinguish it
from other fuelwood species. The leaves are compound with a pair of spines underneath
the midrib. It has yellow flowers. The fruits are oblong, hard, and its shiny pods contain 3
to 4 seeds.


Sibukao is found in India and Malaya and is common and widely distributed in thickets in
the Philippines. It is an introduced species, extensively cultivated in Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan,
Antique, Negros Occidental, and Guimaras Island. It is also abundant in Bicol Region.


y Tree : The tree is used as fuelwood, live fence, and hedge plant.
y Wood : Dye – Sibukao is the most extensively used wood dye in the
Philippines. It has Brazilin, the natural coloring substance used for
coloring textile, paper, and wood. The dye is prepared by removing the
bark and white sapwood. The heartwood is then cut into small chips
and boiled in water.
y Woodcraft : Manufactured into balusters, furniture, wooden jewelry and ladies
accessories, picture frames, parquets for flooring and walling materials,
violin bows, wooden nails, and tool handles.
y Insecticidal : House pots made from this wood are not attacked by termites.
y Medicinal : A decoration or infusion is said to be a blood detoxifying agent. It also
cures diarrhea, dysentery and kidney infections. A decoction of the
leaves is used for all kinds of internal hemorrhages, especially that of
the lungs.

Site Requirements

y Elevation : Sibukao is suited in low and medium altitudes.

y Soil : The species grows mostly on hilly areas with clayey soil or calcareous
rocks. It cannot tolerate too wet conditions. It grows best on hillsides
where drainage is fast after a heavy rain.

Propagation : This species is propagated by seeds.

Seed technology

y Phenology : The species flowers during May. Mature pods can be collected from
January to February (Talavero 1992).
y Seed collection and storage : Collect the seeds before the pods open. Extract the pods
manually. Sundry seeds for 3 to 7 days to reduce moisture content up
to 7%. Store in an air-tight container and keep in a cool place.
y Seed germination : Nicking or cutting the seed coat and soaking in tap water overnight
result in 100% germination. For stored seeds, nicking or cutting the
seed coat and soaking in a fungicide solution (2 g fungicide to 6 l
water) ensures high germination. It also eradicates fungi storage like
Aspergillus spp. And Penicillin spp.

Plantation establishment

Sibukao can be easily established by direct seeding or from nursery-raised seedlings. It

adopts well to plantation establishment, hence, does not require extensive site
preparation other than vegetation clearing and weed control during the early years.

Harvesting/Rotation cycle

Sibukao is harvested every 3 to 4 years. A 25-cm-high stump is left from which profuse
sprouts grow after a week. Harvesting is done with an ax or bolo.


Brown, W. 1921. Minor products of Philippine forests. Vol. II. DENR. Bureau of Forestry
Bull. No. 22. pp. 389-391.

Merrill, E.O. 1968. A flora of Manila. 232 pp.

Quisumbing, E. 1951. Medicinal plants of the Philippines. Katha Publishing. Pp. 374 to

Serrano, R.C. Sibukao. 1994. Excellent fuelwood. PCARRD Monitor, Vol. 12 No. 6 & 7.
NSTA. pp. 9-10.

Talavero. V.P. and N.B. Apitong. 1992. Sibukao: A potential fuelwood species. Techno
Transfer Series. DENR-ERDB Reg. 6 Vol. 3 No. 9.

Zerrudo, G.C. 1985. Sibukao (Caesalpinia sappan L.) A multipurpose tree. Inaugural
lecture for the Diamond Jubilee Professorial Chair in Wood Science and