Vateria indica L.
Synonym : Vateria malabarica Blume
Family : Dipterocarpaceae
Local Names : Vellakunthirikam, Indian copal tree, White dammar
Flowering and fruiting period: March – August
Distribution: Western Ghats
Habitat: Evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, also in the plains
IUCN status: Critically endangered
Uses: The seeds contain up to 50% of a solid oil known as 'piney tallow’. This can be used for flavouring food and as a substitute or adulterant for ghee. The bark is used to control fermentation in when making alcoholic beverages such as arrack and toddy. The resin obtained from the tree has the same uses as pine resin. An oil obtained from the seeds is valued locally as an external application to relieve rheumatism. The bark is astringent.
Key Characters: Vateria indica are evergreen trees, bark greyish, blotched with white and green, smooth; exudation, sticky, resinous; branchlets puberulus. Leaves simple, alternate, oblong, apex, acuminate margin entire. Flowers bisexual, white, fragrant, in terminal panicles. Sepals 5, free, lanceolate. Petals 5, white, obovate. Stamens many, free; filaments hairy. Ovary superior, ovoid-oblong, 3-celled, 2-ovules in each cell. Fruit a capsule, pale brown, ovoid; seed one.