Bangkal tree

Scientific Name: Nauclea orientalis (L.) L.

Physical Characteristics

Bangkalis a small to fairly large tree that grows up to 35 meters tall.

Bangkal fruits and leaves

Its bole is usually straight, which reaches to 80-100 centimeters in diameter. Its bark surface is smooth to irregularly fissured and cracking, sometimes scaly, and is grayish-brown to reddish brown.

The leaves are opposite, simple, entire, and leathery with short petioles.

The flowers are axillary and terminal, have a stalked head with simple peduncles, 4-5-merous, and yellow.

The fruit is connate into an indehiscent globose syncarp. The seed is ovoid to ellipsoid, sometimes slightly bilaterally compressed and not winged.


Bangkal grows in lowland and hill forests in up to 1,100 meters in altitude. It also often appears along streams and swampy locations in secondary forests at low and medium altitudes. It is found in most islands and provinces in Batanes and northernLuzon, Palawan, andMindanao. Small quantities are obtainable, but it is seldom cut for market.

Method of Propagation

Bangkal is propagated by seeds only.

Bangkal bark and trunk

Contemporary Use

The wood is used for light framing, interior joinery, weatherboard, flooring, furniture, cabinet work, moldings, veneer and plywood, sculptures, implements, shuttering, toys, packing cases, and match splints. It is also used for house construction. The wood is considered suitable for making a good pulp for paper production.

Traditional Use

Leaves are applied to boils and tumors. Bark extract is said to be vulnerary, antidiarrhetic, and a cure for toothache. When mixed with dita, it can be used as himughat (as a preventive against bughat, a condition in which a patient falls back to illness after apparent recovery).