This species has often been treated as no more than a synonym of Scaphium macropodum (Miq.) Beumée ex K.Heyne. However, we are following the treatment in 'Scaphium affine(Mast.) Pierre (Sterculiaceae) new for Thailand'[
] which views them as two distinct, but closely related, species[
Clompanus affinis (Mast.) Kuntze
Firmiana affinis (Mast.) A.Terracc.
Firmiana lychnophora (Hance) K.Schum.
Scaphium beccarianum Pierre
Scaphium lychnophorum (Hance) Pierre
Sterculia affinis Mast.
Sterculia beccariana Pierre
Sterculia lychnophora Hance
Scaphium affine is an evergreen tree with a conical to rounded crown; it can grow from 18 - 40 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be up to 80cm in diameter with thick buttresses up to 2 metres high[
The seeds are commonly harvested from the wild to make a popular drink and for medicinal purposes. The wood is a source of 'kembang semangkok' timber and is harvested from the wild for local use and for trade.
This species has been heavily exploited, and trees only flower every 1 - 3 years. Hence the number of mature trees is very low. It is often found in protected areas and conserved in some concession areas, but it is threatened by the destructive practice of chopping down the tree to collect the fruit[
Southeast Asia - Thailand, Cambodia, Laos.
Usually found growing along rivers or in transitional areas between swampy wetlands and dry loamy areas, which are flooded for short periods, in deciduous lowland forests at elevations between 700 - 800 metres[
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A plant of moderate elevations in the moist tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 800 metres[
]. It grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 1,500 -2,500 mm[
Requires a shady position[
]. Grows best in a fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny, sheltered position[
The seeds, when soaked in water, swell up to 8 times their original volume to yield a transparent, mucilaginous gel[
]. This is removed from the seeds, mixed with the soaked seeds of basil (Ocimum spp.) and made into a refreshing drink[
When soaked in water, the seed yields a copious mucilage. This is used as medicines to treat complaints such as diarrhoea, dysentery and asthma[
]. It probably works by coating the affected area in a soothing, healing mucilage and thus giving it an opportunity to recover[
The wood is a source of 'kembang semangkok' timber. We have no specific information on the wood of this species, but the following is a general description of kembang semangkok wood:-
The heartwood is light yellow to light brown, with a large silver figure; it is not demarcated from the sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain straight or shallowly interlocked. The wood is moderately heavy; moderately hard; somewhat resistant to fungi but susceptible to dry wood borers. It seasons fairly rapidly, with very little risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable to stable in service. It has a high blunting effect, so stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; nailing and screwing are good; gluing is correct. The wood is used in construction, for joinery and panelling, furniture components, boxes and crates, flooring, matches, plywood, veneer etc[
The wood is used for fuel[
A physical dormancy caused by the hard seed coat of the mature seeds of many species in this genus can be overcome by scarifying the seed. This is carried out by cutting away or abrading some of the seed coat to allow the ingress of water, though great care must be taken not to damage the embryo[
]. The aril surrounding the seed should also be removed - this is easiest when it has been softened through soaking in water[
]. The seeds germinate optimally at temperatures between 20 - 30°c. They can be sown in a nursery seedbed or in containers. A germination rate of about 95%, occurring within about 2 weeks can be expected if the seed has been properly treated[
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