Family • Anacardiacerae - Dracontomelon dao (Blanco) Merr. & Rolfe - PACIFIC WALNUT - Ren mian zi

Scientific names

Comeurya cumingiana Baill.
Dracontomelon dao (Blanco) Merr. & Rolfe
Dracontomelon cumingianum Baill.
Dracontomelon edule (Blanco) Skeels.
Dracontomelon mangiferum Blume
Dracontomelon puberulum Miq.
Dracontomelon sylvestre Blume
Paliurus dao Blanco
Paliurus edulis Blanco
Poupartia mangifera Bl.

Common names

Dao (Tag.)
Paldao (Tag.)
Argus pheasant tree (Engl.)
New Guinea walnut (Engl.)
Pacific walnut (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Ren mian zi. J’n mien tz.
DUTCH: Drakeboom.
FRENCH: Dracontomelon.
GERMAN: Drachenapfel
INDONEIA: Basuong, Dahu.
MALAYSIA: Sěngkoewang.
THAI: Goh sang guan, Ka-kho, Phra chao ha phra ong, Sa gua, Saen taa lom, Ta goh, Tagoo, Sang kuan.
VIETNAMESE: Chi sau, S[aa]u.

Dao is a large tree, growing 30 meters or taller, with the trunk 1 meter or more in diameter. Leaves are alternate and pinnately compound. Leaflets are smooth, oblong, 5 to 7 pairs, up to 15 centimeters long and 4 centimeters wide, pointed at the apex, and abruptly tapered at the base. Flowers are small, white, and fragrant, hanging in lax panicles. Fruit is globose, green turning yellow when ripe with oval markings on the upper side of the fruit, about 2 to 3 centimeters in diameter.


Quisumbing’s compilation lists D. dao and D. edule as synonyms. The Philippine Native Forest Trees site lists Dracontomelon edule as a separate species, Lamio. Lamio looks very much like Dao when small; however, when it grows, the fruits, seeds and leaflets will be larger. Lamio’s bark is brown while Dao’s is somewhat creamy.

– Previously common and widely distributed in forests throughout the Philippines.
– Native to Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanman, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Thailand.
– Occasionally planted as a shade tree or roadside ornamental.
– Now becoming rare.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Sorting Dracontomelon names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE

(2) Study on the Chemical Constituents of Essential Oil from the Skins of Stem of Dracontomelon dao (Blanco) Merr.et Rolfe / SU Xiu-fang, LIANG Zhen-yi, ZHANG Yi-xian / LISHIZHEN MEDICINE AND Materia MEDICA RESEARCH, 2008-07

(3) Antibacterial and antifungal activities of Dracontomelon dao / M R Khan and A D Omoloso / Fitoterapia
Volume 73, Issue 4, July 2002, Pages 327-330 / doi:10.1016/S0367-326X(02)00076-X |

(4) Anti-bacterial effect of four extracts from leaves of Dracontomelon dao on Escherichia coli growth using microcalorimetry coupled with principal component analysis / Shuxian Liu, Yanling Zhao, Nan Zeng, Tiantian Liu, Yaming Zhang, Bin Han, Jianyu Li, Lifu Wang, Ruilin Wang, Man Gong, Yonggang Li, Xiaohe Xiao / Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, April 2014, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp 491-497

(5) Black teeth: beauty or caries prevention? Practice and beliefs of the Kammu people. / Tayanin GL, Bratthall D. / Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2006 Apr;34(2):81-6.

(6) Dracontomelon dao / WorldAgroForestry

(7) Lamio (Dracontomelon Edule)—the cousin of Dao / Philippine Native Forest Trees

(8) Dracontomelon edule Merr. is a synonym of Dracontomelon dao (Blanco) Merr. & Rolfe / The Plant Lis


– Essential oil from the skin of stems yielded 13 compounds. The major constituents were n-Hexadecanoic acid(46.13%);Octadecanoic acid(15.44%),(E)-9-Octadecenoic acid(13.73%),and(Z,Z)-9,12-Octadecadienoic acid(7.79%).

– Fruit are considered cooling, antidote.
– Studies have shown antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Parts used
Fruits, seeds, bark.

– Fruits are edible, fresh or stewed in honey.
– Kernels mixed with tea imparts a fragrant and mucilaginous sweet taste.

– No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
– In China, fruits used to cool and relieve itchiness; cure internal ulceration, and as antidote for poisoning.
– Superstition: Holding a seed in the right hand on odd days and the left hand on even days will precipitate childbirth.
– Bark used for dysentery.
– Fruits used to soothe sore throat and inflammation of the skin
– Indonesians drink a decoction of bark to expel the membrane enveloping the fetus in the womb.


– Toys: Seeds used by children as toys.

Study Findings
• Antibacterial / Antifungal: Crude and methanol extractsn and fractions of leaves, stem, and root barks exhibited a good level of broad spectrum antibacterial activity. Only the leaf fraction showed antifungal activity.
• Antibacterial / Anti-Escherichia coli Activity: Study evaluated various extracts of D. dao leaves for anti-Escherichia coli activities. An EtOAc fraction exhibited the strongest anti-bacterial activity.
• Black Teeth / Antibacterial Effect: Study evaluated the tooth-blackening procedure among Kammu women in Laos and Vietnam and its possible antimicrobial effects. Three plants commonly used were: Dracontomelon dao nuts, Cratoxylum formosum woord or Croton cascarilloides wood. Extracts of soot of the DD nuts inhibited the growth of salivary mutans streptococcis in invitro experiments.