An Eco-sustainable World
ArborealSpecies Plant

Carallia brachiata

Carallia brachiata

The corkwood or corkybark, freshwater mangrove, billabong-tree (Carallia brachiata (Lour.) Merr. 1919) is an arboreal species belonging to the Rhizophoraceae family.

Systematic –
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subkingdom Tracheobionta,
Division Magnoliophyta,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Subclass Rosidae,
Order Rhizophorales,
Rhizophoraceae family,
Tribe Gynotrocheae,
Genus Carallia,
Species C. brachiata.
The term is basionym:
– Diatoma brachiata Lour.
The terms are synonymous:
– Baraultia madagascariensis Spreng.;
– Barraldeia madagascariensis DC.;
– Barraldeia madagascariensis Spreng.;
– Bruguiera nemorosa Blanco;
– Carallia arguta Koord. & Valeton;
– Carallia baraldeia Arn.;
– Carallia calycina Benth.;
– Carallia celebica Blume;
– Carallia cerisopsifolia Miq.;
– Carallia ceylanica Arn.;
– Carallia confinis Blume;
– Carallia confinis subsp. latifolia Miq.;
– Carallia confinis var. latifolia Miq.;
– Carallia confinis var. oxyodon Miq.;
– Carallia confinis var. pauciflora Blume;
– Carallia corymbosa Arn.;
– Carallia cuprea Ridl.;
– Carallia cuspidata Blume;
– Carallia densiflora Griff.;
– Carallia diplopetala Hand.-Mazz.;
– Carallia floribunda Miq.;
– Carallia integerrima DC.;
– Carallia integrifolia J.Graham;
– Carallia lanceifolia Roxb.;
– Carallia lanceolaria Wall.;
– Carallia lucida Roxb.;
– Carallia madagascariensis (DC.) Tul.;
– Carallia multiflora Blume;
– Carallia multiflora Miq.;
– Carallia obcordata Wight;
– Carallia obcordata Wight ex Walp.;
– Carallia octopetala F.Muell.;
– Carallia octopetala F.Muell. ex Benth.;
– Carallia scortechinii King;
– Carallia sinensis Arn.;
– Carallia spinulosa Ridl.;
– Carallia symmetria Blume;
– Carallia symmetrica Blume;
– Carallia timorensis Blume;
– Carallia viridiflora Ridl.;
– Carallia zeylanica Arn.;
– Catalium nitidum Buch.-Ham.;
– Demidofia nodosa Dennst.;
– Eugenia cupulifera H.Perrier;
– Karekandelia brachiata (Lour.) Kuntze;
– Karekandelia calycina (Benth.) Kuntze;
– Karekandelia celebica (Blume) Kuntze;
– Karekandelia confinis (Blume) Kuntze;
– Karekandelia cuspidata (Blume) Kuntze;
– Karekandelia lanceifolia (Roxb.) Kuntze;
– Karekandelia multiflora (Blume) Kuntze;
– Petalotoma brachiata (Lour.) DC.;
– Pootia cereopsifolia Miq.;
– Pootia cereopsifolia Miq. ex Benth.;
– Richea madagascariensis (DC.) Kuntze;
– Stalagmitis lamponga Miq.;
– Symmetria obovata Blume.

Etymology –
The term Carallia derives from “karalli”, the name given to a species belonging to the genus in the Telugu language.
The specific epithet brachiata comes from the Latin “brachiatus, a, um”, i.e. branched.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Carallia brachiata is a plant native to an area that includes: Australia (Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory), Bhutan, Cambodia, China (Fujian, Guangdong, S Guangxi, Hainan and Yunnan), Philippines, India, Indonesia, Islands Solomon, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam.
Its habitat is that of humid forests, often near swamps and watercourses, from sea level up to about 1500 m above sea level.

Description –
Carallia brachiata is a large evergreen tree, very branched, which grows to a height of 25 – 50 metres, depending on the habitat in which it grows.
The trunk is cylindrical, 25-50 cm in diameter at the base, with greyish bark ranging from smooth in young specimens to fissured in older ones.
The leaves are carried by a petiole about 1 cm long, they are simple, opposite, obovate-oblong with a pointed apex and entire or sometimes slightly serrated margin, 6-15 cm long and 2-8 cm wide, leathery, colored green, shiny above; stipules (appendages at the base of the leaf which have the main purpose of protecting it during the initial growth phase) lanceolate, deciduous, 1.5-2 cm long.
The inflorescences are formed in an axillary position, in compact buds, 1-6 cm long, resinous, with hermaphroditic sessile or subsessile flowers, 2.5 mm in diameter, with a green cupuliform calyx with 5-7 triangular lobes, 3-4 long mm, corolla made up of (4)-5(-8) unguiculate white petals with orbicular edge and non-uniform laciniate margin, and stamens, double the number of petals, about 2 mm long.
The fruits are edible; they are globose berries, 0.5-0.8 cm in diameter, pink to red in color when ripe, shiny.
Inside these there are 1(-5) kidney-shaped seeds.

Cultivation –
Carallia brachiata is an evergreen tree that is harvested in nature for its wood and fruit.
Specimens are usually too scattered and too small to be of much importance for timber, but small quantities of timber are exported from areas such as Borneo and Papua New Guinea where the tree grows larger.
Ornamental cultivars have been developed which are particularly suitable for planting along roads and near buildings.
It is a plant that can be cultivated in tropical and humid subtropical climate zones in full sun, except in the initial growth phase when light shade is useful, in soils kept constantly humid, being rather sensitive to drought. It has a limited use as an ornamental, in particular the ‘Honiara’ variety with pendulous branches (photo), used as an isolated specimen or in groups in parks and gardens and in street trees, where it has proven resistant to urban pollution.
Regarding cultivation, keep in mind that older plants grow well in an open position, but younger plants tolerate shade better and don’t like too much sun.
As mentioned, they are tolerant of moist soil and stagnant water and young plants are sensitive to drought.
They are plants with slow initial growth, with the seedlings only growing up to 35 cm in height after 2 years and up to 2.5 meters after 5 years; however, seedlings of columnar ornamental cultivars can reach 60 cm in height in 10 months.
Growth is monopodial and the trees flower and fruit profusely in fruiting years, but individual trees may flower less profusely in other years as well.
The trees can be coppiced well and reproduce freely thanks to root suckers.
Propagation occurs mainly by seed, to be planted quickly as it has a short germination period, in draining organic soil kept humid at a temperature of 24-26 °C, with germination times of 1-3 months, by apical cutting and root suckers.

Customs and Traditions –
Carallia brachiata is a plant known by various common names; among these are: corkwood, corkybark, freshwater mangrove (English); kanthekera (Assamese); kierpa (Bengali); maniuga (Burmese); ngo shen muk, nik nga tsai (Chinese); dom-trameng, tromeng (Khmer); bong nang, halay (Laotian); varanga (Malayalam); kesinga, meransi, sisek puyu (Malay); amparimamy, farimamy (Malagasy); panasi (Marathi); kathe kera (Nepali); anosep, bakawan gubat, bakhaw bukid, malabakhaw, sigiran (Tagalog); chiang phra nang ae, to sai (Thai).
It is the host plant of the moth Dysphania percota in India and Dysphania numana in Australia.
The wood is of good quality, easy to work and finish, but not very resistant to atmospheric agents, it is used for internal parts in home construction, for furniture, tools, musical instruments, artistic and craft objects, it is also excellent for burning and for the production of coal.
Leaves and bark are used in traditional medicine, particularly in diseases of the mouth and throat.
The fruits are edible.
Plants growing in China have been found to be quite resistant to heavily polluted environments, making the plant a good candidate for use in reforestation and reclamation programs on degraded and heavily polluted land.
The heartwood ranges from yellowish brown to reddish brown; it is bounded by indistinctly to moderately distinct from the lighter sapwood.
The fiber is straight, braided or slightly wavy, coarse and irregular in texture. The wood is medium weight; strong; durable indoors, but durability in contact with the ground or when exposed to the elements is moderate to poor; it is subject to attacks by termites and marine borers. It is easy to saw and plane, beautifully marbled wood takes a fine polish and is suitable for general construction, home building, poles, cabinet making, furniture, parquet floors, railway sleepers, tools musical instruments, tool handles, frames, veneer, interior finishes and paneling, pallets and packaging material.
Thanks to its high energy value, good quality firewood and coal are obtained from wood.

Preparation Method –
Carallia brachiata is a plant used for lumber, food and ornamental use.
The fruits are eaten raw and have a pleasant, sweet-acid flavour.
In the medicinal field, the juice of the macerated leaves is used in the treatment of fevers.
The powdered bark is rubbed on the body in the treatment of smallpox.
The leaves and bark are used in local medicine to treat septic poisoning and itching.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Photo source:

Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline any responsibility for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.

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