Kukui Nut Tree
Aleurites moluccana – Kukui
Other Common Names – Kukui, Candlenut, Indian Walnut, Kuikui
The Aleurites molucccana is a flowering tree that belongs to the Euphorbiaceae or spurge family. It is also known by its common names such as Kukui, Kuikui, Candlenut, and Indian Walnut.
It can be difficult to establish its native range, but it is believed that the tree is a native of the Indo-Malaya region. It is a medium-sized tree as it usually grows anywhere between 15 to 25 meters or 49 to 82 feet, with irregular branches that are wide-spreading or drooping downwards.
The tree is also recognizable through its pale green leaves, which are almost silvery in color. That is why the tree is very distinct even from afar. The leaves are simple and are either triangular or oval-shaped, especially when they get older. But, the younger leaves or those that are found on the lower branches are usually trilobed or even five-lobed. They also have an acute apex that is between 10 to 20 centimeters or 3.9 to 7.9 inches long.
The flowers of the tree grow in clusters that are usually 10 to 15 centimeters long. They have five separate petals that are creamy white in color. Several male flowers that are smaller in size surround the female flowers, which grow up to 13 millimeters long.
The nut or the fruit of the Aleurites moluccana tree is round in shape and is between 4 to 6 centimeters or 1.6 to 2.4 inches in diameter. The seed of the fruit has a very hard coating and also has a high oil content. It is completely edible, in fact, the nut is used in Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine.
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