Family • Pinaceae - Agathis dammara (Lamb.) Rich. et A. Rich. - MANILA COPAL - Bei qiao shan

Scientific names

Agathis alba (Lam.) Foxw.
Agathis alba Jeffrey
Agathis philippinensis Warb.
Agathis loranthifolia Salisb.
Agathis borneensis Warb.
Agathis beccarii Warb.
Agathis celebica Warb.
Agathis dammara Lamb.
Agathis macrostachys Warb.
Agathis regia Warb.
Pedocarpus philippeanus Benth.
Dammara rumphii Presl
Bei ke shan (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

GERMAN: Harzige Kaurifichte.
INDONESIA: Dammar raja, Kisi, Salo.
MALAY: Damar gantungan, damar lea, damar lotong, damar tampea, damar wana gintungan.
SPANISH: Almaciga.

Common names

Adiañgau (Bik.)
Alinsago (Ig.)
Alintagau (Ig.)
Almaciga (Span.)
Aniñga (Ig.)
Anano (S. L. Bis.)
Anting (Neg.)
Badiagau (P. Bis.)
Bagtik (Kuy.)
Balau (C. Bis.)
Baltik (Tagb.)
Biayo (Bis.)
Bidiangau (P. Bis.)
Buntog (Ig.)
Dadiañgau (C. Bis., Tag.)
Daduñgoi (Bik.)
Dinar (Bag.)
Gala-gala (Tag., Tagb.)
Ladiañgau (Bik., Tag.)
Makau (C. Bis.)
Olinsago (Ig.)
Salang (Neg.)
Saleng (Neg.)
Titau (Ting.)
Uli (Sbl.)
Uniñgat (Ilk.)
Dammar pine (Engl.)
Philippiine agathis (Engl.)
Amboina pine (Engl.)
Manila copal (Engl.)
Bei qiao shan (Chin.)

Almaciga is a large tree with a pyramidal crown and whorled branches, growing to a height of 50 to 60 meters, the trunk up to 3 meters in diameter with a smooth and graying bark exuding resin. Leaves are simple, opposite or nearly so, entire and leathery, oblong-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, obtuse, 3 to 9.5 centimeters long, 1 to 2.5 centimeters wide. Male cones are cylindrical-oblong, 1.5 to 5 centimeters long. Female cones are 2.5 to 5 centimeters long, globose or ovoid, up to 5 centimeters in diameter; scales are broadly cuneate, 1 to 1.5 centimeters across. Seeds are about 1 centimeter long, with the falcate decurved obtuse wing.

– In primary forests, at medium and higher altitudes, 200 to 2000 meters above sea level, from the Babuyan Islands and northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao, and in most other islands and provinces.
– Occasional lowland cultivation.
– Also occurs in Indo-China, through the Malay Peninsula, and from the Archipelago to the Moluccas.

– Volatile oil – surface resin, 1.3%; mined resin, 8%; 8% soft resin, 11.2%.
– Oil of Manila copal: Yields a volatile oil through steam distillation or dry distillation with the following constituents: d-limonene, d-a-pinene, J-pinene and camphene. source
– Manila copal consists mainly of amorphous-free resin acids, also containing a neutral resin indifferent to alkalies, and a volatile oil.

Additional info on resins and copal
– Almaciga belongs to the same family and same genus as the New Zealand “kauri pine” (Agathis australis) which also yields a resin similar to almaciga. The resin of A. philippinensis is found in the bark and oozes out whenever cut. Occasional lumps of resin are found in the forks of the branches, and large masses – called fossil (mineral) resins – are found in the ground. True copals are hard, lustrous, yellow, brown or nearly white, more or less insoluble in the usual solvents, rendered soluble by melting before making into varnish.
– Copals are resins which contain very permanent substances known as resenes.
– Copals also contain ethereal oils, a bitter principle and a coloring matter.
– Zanzibar and Cameroon copals consist mainly of resin acids and resenes; Manila copals are mostly of resin acids (12% vs 6% of Zanzibar).

Parts used

– Arthritis: Soften resin by steam or indirect heat (not open fire) and spread on cloth or gauze and apply over affected area.
– Asthma: Inhale smoke from the burning resin.
– In Malaya, the resin is used as liniment.

– Varnish: Used in the manufacture of high-grade varnish.
– Resin employed as incense in religious ceremonies, for torches, to facilitate starting fires, caulking boats, as smudge for mosquitoes.
– Exported and used in the manufacture of high-grade varnish.
– Also used in making patent leather and sealing wax.
– Used in the manufacture of cheap soaps and paper sizing.
– Resinate products use in paper manufacturing to render the paper non-bibulous.

Caution ! 
• Contact dermatitis: Reports of allergic contact dermatitis to the resin / oleoresin.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Oil Of Manila Copal