Mallotus is derived from the Latin mallus, a lock of wool, referring to the hairs on the leaves and fruits of some members of the genus; philippensis – is from the Latin word, 'ensis' indicating origin or place which is the Philippine Islands where the first specimens were collected.
This tree is native here in Australia, and in Asia. It is regarded as one of the world’s more important natural dyes. The colour is extracted from the red powdery covering of the seed capsules, and can be red, orange, or yellow depending on how it is treated. It has been in use for at least 3000 years in Asia for a variety of purposes including the “saffron” robes of monks, the red paste for the forehead dot worn by married Hindu women, a yellow dye for Indonesian batik, and paints used in wall hangings and decorated wood.
The red seed capsule splits open to reveal three small round black seeds - the classic bird-attracting colours.
The outer covering of the fruit can also be dried and powdered to make a preparation which is an effective agent for the expulsion of tapeworms. It is also a fish poison.
Form: Tree to 18 Metres High Aspect:
Full Sun / Semi-Shade
Soil/Conditions: Moist / Well-Drained
NOTE - Living plants must be collected (by appointment) - postage not available