Tree of the month (part2) Balukanag (Chisocheton cumingianus)
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2012 - 12:00am

Physical Characteristics

Balukanag is a good-sized tree, reaching a height of 20 meters. The leaves are alternately crowded along the relatively thick twigs, with elliptic leaflets 20 to 25 centimeters in length.

The flowers are nearly two centimeters long, tubular, and borne on elongated panicles. The fruit is solitary or loosely clustered, brown, and pear-shaped, and about eight centimeters in diameter, and grows upon long stout stalks. The nut averages at three centimeters in length and 2.5 centimeters in diameter.

Distribution

Balukanag is an endemic species found commonly in primary forests at low and medium altitudes from Cagayan to Albay Provinces in Luzon, Catanduanes, Samar, Leyte, Camiguin and Mindanao.

Contemporary Uses

The timber is not hard enough for building houses, making farm implements or woodcarving. The nut contains a considerable percentage of non-drying oil. It is reported to have been, before petroleum become common, the chief source of illuminating oil in certain regions. The oil has a soap-making quality. Fruit is edible and used for removing stains.

Traditional Uses

Its oil induces bowel movements but it is not as powerful as castor oil. It is also used externally for rheumatism and inflammations due to edema, and internally for gastralgia and cholera, in doses of a teaspoonful and tablespoonful in coffee or soup, respectively.

How to plant your balukanag 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 balukanag 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.

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Data about native tree species are featured by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. For comments and suggestions, e-mail Hannah.Aranas@rafi.org.ph.

ALBAY PROVINCES ARANAS BALUKANAG CAMIGUIN AND MINDANAO CONTEMPORARY USES HANNAH PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS RAMON ABOITIZ FOUNDATION INC SEEDLING
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