Cebu News

Tree of the Month (Part1)

- The Philippine Star


Diplodiscus paniculatus (Turcz.)

Physical Characteristics

Balobo is a tree reaching a height of about 20 meters and a diameter of 80 centimeters with an irregular trunk and a buttressed base.

Its bark is brown, flaky, and fibrous.

Its leaves are simple, alternate, chartaceous, and each measures15 to 25 centimeters long. The leaf base is obtuse to rounded and frequently inequilateral. The apex is acute and its upper surface is shiny while the lower is grayish. Young leaves have a purplish tinge.

Its flowers are yellowish white, fragrant, short pedicelled, and each has five calyx segments and five petals. The stamens are interlaced. The ovary is scale covered and style-free towards the top.

Its fruits are brown, scaly, somewhat ridged longitudinally, sub-globosely hard, and each measures about two centimeters in diameter.


Balobo is very common and widely distributed in the forests of northern Luzon to southern Mindanao at low and medium altitudes. It has a wide distribution in Luzon (Cagayan to Sorsogon), Ala-bat, Catanduanes, Mindoro, Masbate, Ticao, Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Panay, Dinagat, and all provinces of Minda-nao in primary and secondary forests at low and medium attitudes.

Contemporary Use

Its wood is used for Venetian blinds, bowling pins, bobbins, spindles and shuttles, house posts, agricultural implements, general construction work, and charcoal produced by retort method. Seed kernels roasted or boiled can be eaten like peanuts. Balobo is also ideal for toothpicks, tool handles, packing boxes and for pulp and paper.

How to plant your balobo 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 balobo 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 and suggestions, e-mail [email protected].










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