Banato or Kamala

Mallotus philippensis

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Common Names: Kamala, Monkey Face Tree,

References: Stuartxchange,Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines (facebook group) (note: thank you to Bonifacio Pasion for the ID)

Origin: native to China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia

    • The granules which cover the ripe fruit are used in India as a dye (‘kamala’) for dyeing silk and wool bright orange, although is now rarely used as a dye as it is much too expensive to compete with synthetic dyes (from florabank)
    • mallotus means “fleecy”, referring to the seed capsule (from flickr)
    • In Ayurveda it is a important drug, used in many diseases as a strong Purgative (from flickr)
    • This is the small tree near our future “office”
    • Fruit is somewhat spherical, 6 to 8 millimeters in diameter, unarmed but densely covered with red or crimson powder, with three cells, each containing a dark grey, rounded seed that is flattened on one side.on in thickets and secondary forests at low altitudes.
    • NOTE: I will take more pictures of the fruit to confirm the ID

trees and shrubs


Here are pictures of the ripe seeds that confirm the ID

three black seeds inside each pod
three black seeds inside each pod
The seed are hard. Do Orioles eat them?
The seed are hard. Do Orioles eat them?

I wrote about this tree and posted more pictures in A Favorite Tree.

3 thoughts on “Banato or Kamala”

  1. Known Local Banato Tree in Pollilo Quezon (Panukulan Quezon), should be different from this. The fruit of Banato Tree in Panukulan Quezon, (Pollilo Island), is edible, and the leaves are rough, like a paper sand, the fruit is like a sea urchin, yellowish when ripen.

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