Molave Tree

Scientific Name

Vitex parviflora

Physical Characteristics

Molave Trunk

Molave is a medium to large tree attaining a diameter of 100 to 150 centimeters and a height of 25 to 30 meters. In exceptional cases, it reaches a height of 35 meters or more and a diameter of 200 centimeters with a bole from 16 to 20 meters.

It is a tree that grows irregularly, short, crooked, and has a fluted bole with thick, low, medium, to moderately large buttresses.

It is intolerant to shade and a light-loving species with a spreading crown. It partially or entirely sheds its leaves during the latter part of the dry season.

The leaves are typically opposite or whorled and mostly simple. The crown usually covers more than half of the total height of the tree with the main branches ascending.

The fruit dries, separating at maturity into 24 nutlets. The average number of seeds per fruit ranges from one to three. Its wood is lightly colored, deepening with age; hard to very hard; straight-grained to slightly interlocked or wavy; and fine to moderately fine-textured.


Molave is common in both secondary and open primary forests at low altitude throughout the Philippines in all or most islands and provinces. Thus, these forests are often called “molave forests”.

Molave Leaves

Method of Propagation

The plant can be propagated by seeds.

Contemporary Uses

Molave, being one of the hardest woods, is used in railroad ties, ship-building, wagon-making, bridges, cabinet, carabao yokes, cog-wheels, inserted cogs, saltwater piles, plane stocks, sugar mills, sculpture, and carving wooden tools, tool handles, novelties, agricultural implements, and high-grade construction where strength and durability are required.

Leaves are used as fodder. It is resistant to fungal, termite, and lyctus beetle attack, but not to marine borers.

The wood often takes on a yellowish-green or greenish-brown tint when boiled in water. A yellow resin exudes when the wood is treated with lime. When shavings are soaked in water, a yellow extract is obtained.

Molave Flowers

Molave has been suggested for shelterbelts and already planted in reforestation projects in the Philippines.

Traditional Uses

Its wood and bark have curative effects on wounds and poisonous bites. The leaves are used to feed cattles, carabaos, and goats, especially during the dry season when rangelands are somewhat barren.  Wood extract is considered a good remedy for poisons, as a dose of it will induce vomiting. The extract can also be used in treating diarrhea, jaundice, and dropsy.