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Caesalpinia sappan


Caesalpinia sappan L.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common Name: Sappan Wood, Brazilwood Tree, Sappan, 苏木


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Small (6m-15m))


Native Distribution South China, Indochina, Malesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Foliage Leaves stipulate, bipinnate, 20-45cm long 10-20 cm broad, with 8-16 pairs of up to 20 cm long pinnae; pinnae with prickles at the base and with 10-20 pairs of oblong subsessile leaflets, very oblique at base, rounded to emarginated at apex.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice)
Medicinal: The Chinese use the heartwood to treat bruises and coughing of blood. It is generally given to women after labor. A decoction of the wood is used in many Asian countries to treat problems related to blood, because of its red color.
Timber & Products: The wood is used for firewood and timber. The wood has fine texture, heavy, hard and lustrous; it takes high finish and is tough and resistant to termite attach. It is used for inlaying work, cabinet making, violin bows and for walking sticks. The red color decoction from hardwood are used as dye on cotton, silk and wool fabric. Roots give a yellow dye.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping The tree is planted as hedge or boundary.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils
Soil pH Range From 5
Soil pH Range To 7.5
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Compound (Bipinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Smooth
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Legume / Pod
Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown
Seed Description Ellipsoid, flattened.
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)

Image Repository



Master ID 1475
Species ID 2768
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 21 December 2021.