Facts about Pelajau

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Pelajau Quick Facts
Name: Pelajau
Scientific Name: Pentaspadon motleyi
Origin Native to Malaysia (peninsular, Sarawak and Sabah); Indonesia (Kalimantan, Irian Jaya, Sumatra), Papua New Guinea (Gulf and Madang Provinces), Bougainville and the Solomon Islands.
Colors Greenish-brown
Shapes Fleshy ovoid, pointed drupe, 3–5 cm by 2–2.75 cm
Pelajau, Pentaspadon motley, is a plant species belonging to family Anarcardiaceae and found in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. It is endangered by loss of habitat. The fruits and seeds are edible after cooking. In native tropical range, it is found in lowland undisturbed primary forests upto altitude of 200 meters. It mostly occurs in swamps, repeatedly inundated areas and along rivers and streams on sandy to clayey soils. Usually it is found as pre-disturbance remnant in secondary forests. Naturally, it occurs in low lying and undulating land especially near streams and in seasonal swamp forests. Leaves measures 10 to 30 cm long with 7 to 9 leaflets. Usually leaflets are opposite with pointed apex having rounded base and pinkish color when young. Bark is grey-white with pink inner bark and has whitish sap when cut. Timber is light hardwood  with light yellow-green heartwood. Sapwood is white having green tinge when fresh measuring 2-3 cm wide and not clearly differentiated. The soil is light reddish loam and shallow having underlying rock and granite and also a good drainage.

Plant description

Pentaspadon motley is a tall tree measuring 51 meters in height and 70 cm dbh with thin spreading buttresses and scaly or grey-brown bark. Leaves are compound, alternate, imparipinnate measuring 10–20 cm long having 7 to 9 dark green leaflets which are pink when young. Leaflets are opposite and about 5–13 cm × 2–6 cm. It has pointed apex and rounded base, penni-veined having 6 to 10 pairs of secondary nerves and hairy domatia in axils of secondary nerves. Flowers are small, cream colored and about 4 mm in diameter. The bisexual flowers have imbricate petals and five fertile stamens that alternates with five sterile staminodes and one celled ovary having short style. Fruit is a drupe which is fleshy ovoid, greenish-brown, 3–5 cm by 2–2.75 cm which contains one large, ovoid and oblong compressed seed.

Traditional uses

  • In Sarawak, use the sap as oil for itch, skin diseases and scabies.
  • Stems resin is used to calm down itchiness of skin.

Culinary uses

  • Consume the fruits fresh, cooked, fried or roasted.
  • The kernel offers a pleasant taste when roasted or fried.
  • Add the kernels to the soup.
  • Boil the fruits.









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