Tree of the month part 2: Katmon (Dillenia philippinesis Rolfe)
() - May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

                                                                                                    Physical Properties

Katmon reaches the height of six to 15 meters. Its bark is smooth. The leaves are leathery, shining, and broad and rounded at the base and tapering toward the end. 

The leaves are also about 12 to 15 centimeters long and coarsely toothed at the margins. The flowers are white, large, and about 15 centimeters in diameter. The fruit, about five to six centimeters in diameter, contains a soft, fleshy, green, and edible pulp with a flavor somewhat like that of a green sour apple.


Katmon is found only in the Philippines, being common in forests of low and medium altitude throughout the islands in primary and secondary forests. Endemic to the country, the tree can be found in Babuyan Islands, Luzon, Polillo, Mindoro, Masbate, Leyte, Negros, Guimaras, Cebu, and Basilan.

Method of Propagation:

It is propagated by seeds only.

Contemporary Use: 

The wood of the Katmon is suitable for furniture. A red dye is obtained from the bark of this tree. Katmon provides good material for house framing, flooring, posts, beams, rafters, flooring, sheathing, ceilings, and special woodworks. When quartered, the wood has a beautiful silver grain similar to a quartered oak, whose features are suitable for furniture and cabinet making. The fresh fruit has an acid, juicy character. It makes an excellent sauce or jams; it is also used for flavoring fish.

Traditional Use: 

The acid of the fruit, when mixed with sugar, is used as a cure for cough. It is also employed for cleansing the hair.

How to plant your Katmon seedling

Clear the area where you want to plant your seedling with unwanted weeds and debris. Make sure that a one-meter radius is kept free from other vegetation. Dig a plant hole with dimensions of at least 20 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm. Plant the seedling at proper depth. Root collar should be at level with or a little below the ground surface with the seedling oriented upward. Fill the hole with top or garden soil and press soil firmly around the base of the seedling. In plantation-making, seedlings should maintain a two-meter distance between seedlings if planted in a row of a three-meter distance from one strip to the next strip.

How to take care of your Katmon seedling

Remove grass and other unwanted vegetation and cultivate the soil around the base of the seedling (50 cm radius) once in every quarter for two to three years. Place mulch around the base of the seedling (maintaining the 50 cm radius and using cut grass, leaves and other suitable materials as mulch base). Prune the branches at most 50 percent of the crown depth, preferably during dry season, and ensure that when pruning, you do not injure the bark.

Remove infected or infested vegetation nearby to stop plant diseases from spreading and contaminating your seedling. Monitor regularly the growth of the seedling for presence of pests and diseases.

Data about native tree species are featured by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. For comments, email

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with