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Canarium ovatum Engl.

Family Name: Burseraceae
Synonyms: Canarium pachyphyllum G.Perkins, Canarium melioides Elmer
Common Name: Pilinut, Pili
Full Sun Lots of Water Moderate Water Fruit or Vegetable Ornamental Leaves Tree


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial


Native Distribution Philippines
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A tree up to 25 m tall and 50 cm in diameter.
Foliage Leaves have a spiral arrangement, stipules persistent. Leaflets are ovate to elliptic, with a pointed tip.
Flowers Flowers are greenish-yellow, borne in clusters in the leaf axils of young shoots. 
Fruits Fruits are ovoid to ellipsoid, up to 7 cm long and 3.8 cm wide. Fruits turn to purplish-black when fully ripe. There is one seed in each fruit. 
Habitat Primary and secondary forests up to 400 m altitude.
Cultivation Trees do well in deep, fertile, well drained soils. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The pulp is eaten boiled and seasoned; the kernels are eaten roasted. The oil extracted from the fruit is used in cooking.)
[Others]: The hard shell of fruits are used as fuel for cooking. The wood, rich in resin, used as firewood.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Shade Providing Tree / Palm
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water, Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Diseases No serious disease or pest issues. However, during the rainy periods, young seedlings are attached by anthracnose. Spraying fungicide solution can easily control the disease. 
Propagation Method Seed, Grafting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Green - Light Green, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Purple
Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown

Image Repository



Master ID 29469
Species ID 3778
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: 22 February 2022.