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Candlenut
Candlenut foliage, flowers, and nut
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Aleurites
Species: A. moluccana
Binomial name
Aleurites moluccana
(L.) Willd., 1805
Synonyms

Aleurites javanicus Gand.
Aleurites pentaphyllus Wall. ex Langeron
Aleurites remyi Sherff
Aleurites trilobus J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.
Jatropha moluccana L.[1]

The Candlenut (Aleurites moluccana), is a flowering tree in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, also known as Candleberry, Indian walnut, Kemiri, Varnish tree or Kukui nut tree.

Its native range is impossible to establish precisely because of early spread by humans, and the tree is now distributed throughout the New and Old World tropics. It grows to a height of 15–25 m (49–82 ft), with wide spreading or pendulous branches. The leaves are pale green, simple and ovate, or trilobed or rarely 5-lobed, with an acute apex, 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long. The nut is round, 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) in diameter; the seed inside has a very hard seed coat and a high oil content, which allows its use as a candle (see below), hence its name.

Contents

Uses

The nut is often used cooked in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, where it is called kemiri in Indonesian or buah keras in Malay. On the island of Java in Indonesia, it is used to make a thick sauce that is eaten with vegetables and rice. Outside of Southeast Asia, macadamia nuts are sometimes substituted for candlenuts when they are not available, as they have a similarly high oil content and texture when pounded. The flavor, however, is quite different, as the candlenut is much more bitter. A Hawaiian condiment known as ʻInamona is made from roasted kukui (candlenuts) mixed into a paste with salt. ʻInamona is a key ingredient in traditional Hawaiian poke. Because the nuts contains saponin and phorbol, they are mildly toxic when raw.[2]

Candlenuts (kemiri) from Indonesia

Several parts of the plant have been used in traditional medicine in most of the areas where it is native. The oil is an irritant and laxative and sometimes used like castor oil. It is also used as a hair stimulant or additive to hair treatment systems. The seed kernels have a laxative effect. In Japan its bark has been used on tumors. In Sumatra, pounded seeds, burned with charcoal, are applied around the navel for costiveness. In Malaya, the pulped kernels or boiled leaves are used in poultices for headache, fevers, ulcers, swollen joints, and gonorrhea. In Java, the bark is used for bloody diarrhea or dysentery. In Hawaiʻi, the flowers and the sap at the top of the husk (when just removed from the branch) were used to treat eʻa (oral candidiasis) in children.

In Ancient Hawaiʻi, kukui nuts were burned to provide light. The nuts were strung in a row on a palm leaf midrib, lit one end, and burned one by one every 15 minutes or so. This led to their use as a measure of time. One could instruct someone to return home before the second nut burned out. Hawaiians also extracted the oil from the nut and burned it in a stone oil lamp called a kukui hele po (light, darkness goes) with a wick made of kapa cloth.

Aleurites moluccanus flowers

Hawaiians also had many other uses for the tree, including: leis from the shells, leaves and flowers; ink for tattoos from charred nuts; a varnish with the oil; and fishermen would chew the nuts and spit them on the water to break the surface tension and remove reflections, giving them greater underwater visibility. A red-brown dye made from the inner bark was used on kapa and aho (Touchardia latifolia cordage). A coating of kukui oil helped preserve ʻupena (fishing nets).[3] The nohona waʻa (seats), pale (gunwales) of waʻa (outrigger canoes) were made from the wood.[4] The trunk was sometimes used to make smaller canoes used for fishing.[5] Kukui was named the state tree of Hawaii on 1 May 1959[6] due to its multitude of uses.[7] It also represents the island of Molokaʻi, whose symbolic color is the silvery green of the kukui leaf.[3]

In Tonga, even today, ripe nuts, named tuitui are pounded into a paste, tukilamulamu, and used as soap or shampoo. As recently as 1993, candlenuts were chewed into sweet-scented emollient utilized during a traditional funerary ritual in the outlying islands of the Kingdom of Tonga.[8]

Dead wood of candlenut is eaten by a larva of a coleoptera called Agrionome fairmairei. This larva is eaten by some people.

Modern cultivation is mostly for the oil. In plantations, each tree will produce 30–80 kg (66–180 lb) of nuts, and the nuts yield 15 to 20% of their weight in oil. Most of the oil is used locally rather than figuring in international trade.

Mythology

In Hawaiʻi the kukui is a symbol of enlightenment, protection and peace.[3] It was said that Kamapuaʻa, the hog-man fertility demi-god, could transform into a kukui tree.[9] One of the legends told of a woman who, despite her best efforts to please her husband, was routinely beaten. Finally, the husband beat her to death and buried her under a kukui tree. Being a kind and just woman, she was given new life, and the husband was eventually killed.

References

  1. ^ "Aleurites moluccanus (L.) Willd.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-05-29. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?2191. Retrieved 2009-11-15.  
  2. ^ Scott, Susan; Craig Thomas (2000). Poisonous Plants of Paradise: First Aid and Medical Treatment of Injuries from Hawaii's Plants. University of Hawaii Press. p. 26. ISBN 9780824822514. http://books.google.com/books?id=99Dr7v8JOKAC&client=firefox-a.  
  3. ^ a b c "Kukui". Canoe Plants of Ancient Hawaii. http://canoeplants.com/kukui.html. Retrieved 2009-11-15.  
  4. ^ Krauss, Beatrice H. (1993). "Chapter 4: Canoes". Plants in Hawaiian Culture. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 50–51. http://books.google.com/books?id=WOdrGIP3zksC&client=firefox-a.  
  5. ^ Dunford, Betty; Lilinoe Andrews; Mikiala Ayau; Liana I. Honda; Julie Stewart Williams (2002). Hawaiians of Old (3 ed.). Bess Press. p. 122. ISBN 9781573061377. http://books.google.com/books?id=PpKyFZXO_jEC.  
  6. ^ Kepler, Angela Kay (1998). Hawaiian Heritage Plants. University of Hawaii Press. p. 113. ISBN 9780824819941. http://books.google.com/books?id=6DjyNkRevskC&source=gbs_navlinks_s.  
  7. ^ Elevitch, Craig R.; Harley I. Manner (April 2006) (PDF). Aleurites moluccana (kukui). The Traditional Tree Initiative. p. 10. http://www.agroforestry.net/tti/Aleurites-kukui.pdf.  
  8. ^ Morrison, R. Bruce and C. Roderick Wilson, eds. (2002) Ethnographic Essays in Cultural Anthropology. Bellmont, CA: Wadsworth. p. 18. ISBN 0-87581-445-X
  9. ^ Mower, Nancy Alpert (2001). Jeanne Campbell Reesman. ed. Trickster Lives: Culture and Myth in American Fiction. University of Georgia Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780820322773. http://books.google.com/books?id=NAWebiC2gasC&source=gbs_navlinks_s.  

External links

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Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Aleurites moluccana

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Malpighiales
Familia: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamilia: Crotonoideae
Tribus: Aleuritideae
Subtribus: Aleuritinae
Genus: Aleurites
Species: Aleurites moluccana

Name

Aleurites moluccana (L.) Willd.

References

  • USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database, 6 March 2006 (http://plants.usda.gov).
  • Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Vernacular names

Deutsch: Lichtnussbaum
English: Candlenut
lea faka-Tonga: Tuitui
Português: Nogueira de Iguape
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Aleurites moluccana on Wikimedia Commons.

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