Other names: Local names: mark keua. Thai: makleua, phi phao. Cambodian: ma klua. Vietnamese: mac nua. Chinese: shi. English: Ebony tree. Trade
Remark: Heaviest timber around. Two varieties are distinguished in Cambodia, ma klua plouc and maklua kaek. Ma klua kaekhas smaller fruits, but better paint properties. In the colonial period in Cambodia and also in Thailand trade was significant.
Use: Unripe green fruits and occasionally leaves produce a black colour used in a dye for clothes, and for tanning nets and hides. Fresh unripe fruit, a medicine against taper-worm but may have toxic side effect.
Active ingredients: Colouring matters in fruits are tannins. Diospyroquinone (an alkaloid) is responsible for expelling parasitic worms. Diospyrol in the fruit is toxic to hookworms. Probably the fruits contain saponins used for poisoning fish.
Harvesting: Fruits are collected when ripe.
Yield, densities: It is estimated that 1 tree older than 6 years yields 30-50 kg of fruits, but often also much more.
Access rules: Sustainability: Conservation status: Category E; Prohibited.
Processing: Fruits lose most of their dyeing and tanning capacity if kept longer than 5 days, unless kept in water with some lime. Clothes are immersed in a solution of finely crushed fruits in water with some mordant and dried in the sun. This is repeated 20 times.
Quality criteria: Marketing: No sale is known or only locally used and sold.
Market prospects: Propagation: By seed as trials with cuttings have failed. Coppicing is possible.
Description: Evergreen tree up to 30 m high, 15 cm in DBH. Bark slightly thickened, roughly cracked, grey-black, inner bark yellow, heartwood black (ebony). Branches pubescent, grey. Leaves alternate ovate-oblong, 4-8 by 1.5-4 cm, chartaceous, pubescent on both surfaces, black when dry, and stalk to 1 cm. Inflorescences often galled and deformed. Flowers 4-merous, pubescent to 1 cm long, pale yellow, fragrant. Fruit globose, 1.4-2.2 cm, calyx curved backwards, yellow-green when ripe, black when dry and brittle.
Distribution & Ecology:Occurs in Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. Found scattered in secondary deciduous and dry evergreen forest, on granite ridges or shale bedrock, but also on limestone. Associated with bamboo. Seedlings grow very slow. Flowering does not occur until at age of 15-30 years. Male and female flowers do not flower simultaneously, hampering breeding.
References: FCLV, FT, FC, NVPL59, PROSEA, FGFTNT00, MPT, PMC, BKF, TPN, ACS02, MPV93, CPI, CLP.