Know about the Katmon

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The Katmon Quick Facts
Name: The Katmon
Scientific Name: Dillenia philippinensis
Shapes Globose, 5–6 cm across
Flesh colors Green
With its scientific name Dillenia philippinensis, this plant is also known as Katmon, Philippine Dillenia and Elephant apple. It is native to Philippines and used for urban greening. It can be found on Babuyan Islands, Polillo, Luzon, Mindoro, Leyte, Masbate, Guimaras, Negros Island, Cebu and Basilan. It grows in low to medium altitude forests throughout Philippines but does not survive in cold climates of uplands. This evergreen tree grows 15 meters high. The trunk is erect and bark is smooth. Leaves are shiny, leathery and oblong about 12-25 centimeters long. Flowers are large, showy, white and about 15 centimeters in diameter with reddish pistils and stamens. The corolla is formed by 5 white obovate petals, ephemeral, 4-6 cm long and 2-5 cm broad which surrounds two distinct rings of stamina, outer ones are numerous, stretched about 1 cm long and red upper half and yellow in lower one. Fruits are round, about 6-8 centimeters in diameter with large fleshy sepals which tightly encloses true fruit.

Facts About Katmon

Name The Katmon
Scientific Name Dillenia philippinensis
Native The Philippines – it is endemic to the Babuyan islands and Sulu archipelago
Common/English Name Katmon, Philippine Dillenia, Elephant apple
Name in Other Languages Philippines: Kalambok, Kalambug (Bagobo), Katmon (Bikol), Katmon (Bisaya), Balale, Palali (Ibanag), Palali (Iloko), Bihis, Biskan (Igorot), Kalamnugui (Lanao), Palali, Pamamalien (Pangsingan), Bolobayauak (Panay- Bisaya), Katmon (Pampanga n), Diangin (Sambali), Kambug (Sulu), Palali (Subanum), Katmon (Tagalog);
English: Elephant Apple, Hondapara Tree, Indian catmon, Ma-tad;
Hindi: Chalta, Karambel;
Sanskrit: Avartaki;
Assamese: Outenga; Bengali: Chalta, Chalita
Plant Growth Habit Small to medium sized, evergreen tree
Plant Size 6 to 15 meters
Bark Greyish brown, smooth
Leaf Elliptic, elliptic or oblong-ovate, 12–25 cm long
Flower White, large, showy, and about 15 cm across
Fruit shape & size Globose, 5–6 cm across
Flesh color Green
Seed Brown blackish, 0.5 cm long and 0.3 cm broad


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

Plant description

Katmon is small to medium sized evergreen tree about 6-15 meters high with an erect to contorted bole with slight buttresses and smooth, greyish brown and shallowly fissured bark. Leaves are elliptic, large, 12–25 cm long, thick, coraiceous, glabrous and glossy green having serrated margins and prominently penni-veined. Flowers are large, white, showy and about 15 cm across. Flowers are five pale green cup shaped sepals, five obovate and spreading white petals. Outer stamens are shorter, slightly spreading and forms basket like structure. They are dark red with white tips in upper half of the length and yellow in basal half. Stamens have short stout filaments and long anthers. Carpels have separate firm radiating stylar branch with small concave stigma at the tip. Fruit is globose, 5-6 cm across made up of fleshy, imbricate and thin sepals which encloses syncarpous aggregate of carpels. Each carpel contains 1 to 5 small brownish-black seeds embedded in a soft and gelatinous pulp.

Traditional uses

  • Mix the fruit with sugar or the fruit decoction is used as a cure for cough.
  • It is also used for cleansing hair.
  • In Sabah, the paste of pounded young leaves or stem bark is applied on wounds and swellings.
  • Bark and leaves are used as astringent and laxative.
  • Fruit is used to provide relief from abdominal pains.
  • Take the juice of leaf and bark for treating cancer and diarrhea.
  • In Thailand, fruit pulp is used for washing hair.
  • The fruit is used for treating dandruff and hair fall.

Culinary uses

  • Use the fruits, flowers and young shoots as a flavoring for sour fish soup.
  • Ripe fruits are also consumed fresh.
  • It could be used to prepare sauce and jams.
  • Cook the fruits as vegetables.






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