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Kamagong

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Kamagong

Mabolo
Mabolo tree
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ebenaceae
Genus: Diospyros
Species: D. blancoi
Binomial name
Diospyros blancoi
A.DC.
Synonyms

See text

Kamagong, Mabolo (both in Philippines), Butter fruit (Singapore) or Velvet Apple (scientific name: Diospyros blancoi) is a plant of the genus of ebony trees and persimmons, Diospyros. Its edible fruit has a skin covered in a fine, velvety fur which is usually reddish-brown, and soft, creamy, pink flesh, with a taste and aroma comparable to fruit cream cheese (the aroma of the fruit itself, however, is unpleasant, comparable to rotten cheese or cat feces; inspiring names like the French "Caca de Chat" in Reunion). It is native to the Philippines, where kamagong usually refers to the entire tree, and mabolo is applied to the fruit. It is also found in the Micronesian Islands of Palau, known as matib (Palauan). Velvet apple trees rarely found in Sri Lanka too.

Cultivation

It is a dioecious tropical tree that grows well in a diversity of soil, from the sea level to the 2,400 feet above sea level. Seed trees are normally planted 30 or 45 feet from each other; this one can be planted from 25 to 30 feet from each other. It needs a good distribution of rainfall through the year. Trees that were planted by seeds could take 6 or 7 years to give out fruit, but trees that were propagated by cuttings produce fruit in 3 or 4 years. It is a very productive tree. In Puerto Rico it produces through the months of August and October. In Cebu, Philippines there is a barangay named after the fruit itself. In Bangladesh it is known as 'bilati gab' (=foreign gab), to distinguish it from 'gab' (Diospyros peregrina).

The fact that fruits vary greatly - in shape, color, hairiness and taste - suggests that there is a great deal of genetic variation in the plant. Seedless cultivars exist, and are highly favored since in the normal varieties the large seeds occupy a considerable volume of the fruit.

Timber

Kamagong timber is extremely dense and hard and is famous for its dark color. Like many other very hard woods, it is sometimes called "iron wood" so called because its wood is iron-like and nearly unbreakable.

Finished products from kamagong wood, such as fine furniture and decoratives can be exported provided that they are properly documented and approved by the Customs authorities. Kamagong is also popular for martial arts training implements such as bokkens and eskrima sticks.

Governance

It is an endangered tree species and protected by Philippine law - it is illegal to export kamagong timber from the country without special permission from the Bureau of Forestry, Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Synonyms

Junior synonyms of D. blancoi are:

  • Cavanillea philippensis Desr.
  • Diospyros discolor Willd. (nom. illeg.)
  • Diospyros philippensis (Desr.) Gürke (nom. illeg.)

References

External links


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