Sabtu, 6 Julai 2013

Gelam @ Kayu putih @ Melaleuca cajuputi

Gelam or Kayu putih ( Melaleuca cajuputi )
Family Myrtaceae

Where seen? This native tree is the source of a medicinal oil called cajuput oil. Some trees are planted at Chek Jawa. According to Corners, it was common in Malaya, "especially in swampy ground near the coasts." According to Hsuan Keng, Ridley observed that "Kampong Gelam may perhaps have taken its name from trees formely growing here". It was also found in Seletar. Also referred to as M. leucadendron.

Features: A tall tree (15-20m) with a narrow, dense crown. Leaves (5-9cm long) dull green, thick, leathery smooth, oval or elongated with 5-7 longitudinal veins. The leaves resemble those of an Acacia. The leaves give off a typical 'tea-tree' smell when crushed. Tiny flowers are creamy-yellow emerging on a long spike in the shape of a bottle-brush. New leaves grow on the flower spike. Fruits are round brown woody capsules in tight clusters and may remain on the tree for several years. They split open to reveal minute brown seeds.

The trunk is often gnarled and twisted. The thick spongy bark is whitish to greyish brown ('Kayu putih' means 'white wood' in Malay) and may peel off in large flakes like sheets of paper. So it is sometimes also called the Paper bark tree.

A hardy tree that grows rapidly and can withstand poor waterlogged soils, wind, heat and even withstand fires, it can become an invasive weed where introduced outside its native range.

Human uses: The leaves are used to distill 'cajeputi' or 'tea-tree oil' which has medicinal and antiseptic uses. According to Wee, the Burmese use it to treat gout, the Indochinese to treat rheumatism and joint pains, the Malaysians to treat colic and cholera, the Indonesians to treat burns, colic, cramps, skin diseases, wounds and various aches and pains. The pinkish-brown timber has a uniform texture and is popular for use in carving, cabinet work, boat building, fencing as well as for fire wood. The bark flakes are used for insulation and for stuffing pillows.

According to Corners, the timber is hard and durable and is used as the main firewood where bakau or mangrove wood is unavailable. The papery bark is used to caulk boats as the bark swells in water, thus sealing seams. The dried fruits are sold as a spice.


A highly stimulating volatile inflammable oil, distilled from the leaves of an East Indian tree (Melaleuca cajuputi, etc.) It is greenish in color and has a camphoraceous odor and pungent taste.

Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Myrtales
Family Myrtaceae – Myrtle family
Genus Melaleuca L. – melaleuca
Species Melaleuca cajuputi Powell – cajeput
Subspecies: M. cajuputi subsp. cajuputi, M. cajuputi subsp. cumingiana,
M. cajuputi subsp. platyphylla


Melaleuca cajuputi subsp. cajuputi
Melaleuca cajuputi subsp. cumingiana (Turcz.) Barlow
Melaleuca cajuputi subsp. platyphylla Barlow

Other Scientific Names

Melaleuca leucadendron L. p.p.
Melaleuca minor Sm.

Common Names

Australia: paperbark tea-tree cajuput tree
Indonesia: kayu putih
Malaysia :kayu putih
Peninsular Malaysia: gelam
Thailand: samet
Vietnam: chè dong, tran, chi cay, bach thien tâng
English: swamp tea-tree



Gelam (Melaleuca cajuputi Powell) belongs to the family Myrtaceae. Other better-known members of the family include kelat (Syzygium spp.), gelam bukit or china maki (Leptospermum spp.), mempoyan (Rhodamnia spp.), pelawan (Trifitaniopis spp.) and Eucalyptus (not indegeneous). Locally the timber of gelam is also known as kayu putih.

The species of Melaleuca occurs naturally in swamp forests between the old raised sea beaches, and is a characteristic feature of the deep seasonal swamps of the coastal alluvial flats behind the sandy beaches and the mangroves, in particular in the states of
Kedah, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan and Terengganu. The trees can be easily recognised by their distinctive thick papery flaky bark that can be peeled off easily.

Description: (Flora of China)
There is 44 species in Melaleuca
Trees, to 18 m tall. Bark white, thick and soft, peeling. Branchlets grayish white. Leaves alternate, fragrant; petiole very short; leaf blade narrowly elliptic to narrowly oblong, 4-10 × 1-2 cm, leathery, with numerous oil glands, secondary veins 3-5(-7) and parallel to long axis blade, both ends acute. Flowers white, in pseudoterminal spikes to 15 cm; rachis usually with short trichomes. Hypanthium ovate, ca. 3 mm, pubes- cent or glabrous. Sepals 5, rounded, ca. 1 mm. Petals 5, ovate, 2-3 × ca. 3 mm. Stamens ca. 1 cm, in 5 bundles. Style linear, slightly longer than stamens. Capsule subglobose, 5-7 mm in diam. Fl. several times per year.

Cultivated in Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, and Yunnan [Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam].

In FRPS (53(1): 54-55. 1984), this widely cultivated species was treated under the name Melaleuca leucadendra (Linnaeus) Linnaeus (as "M. leucadendron"). Melaleuca cajuputi is the source of the essential oil, cajuput or cadjeput. The typical race, subsp. cajuputi, is distributed in
Indonesia and Australia; a third race, subsp. platyphylla Barlow, is distributed in Indonesia (Irian Jaya), Papua New Guinea, and Australia.


Melaleuca cajuputi (Swamp Tea Tree)

This melaleuca is usually a tree up to 25 m tall with a single stem, although it may reach 40 m and 1.2 m in diameter in some situations. It displays dense erect dull green foliage with grey to white papery bark. Range in latitude is 12°N – 18°S and in altitude 5 – 200 m. This is a species primarily of the hot humid climatic zone. Mean annual rainfall varies from 1300 – 1750 mm with a strong monsoonal pattern. The species grows in a wide range of situations but most stands are found on low swampy coastal plains often on heavy-textured black soils that are subject to flooding for six or more months each year.

The species tolerates waterlogged sites including those subject to brackish water. It regenerates successfully in Imperata grasslands, is fire resistant and has the ability to coppice and root sucker. It is moderately fast-growing. The wood is hard and resistant to rot.


  • ASIA-TROPICAL Indo-China: Myanmar; Thailand; Vietnam
  • Malesia: Indonesia - Irian Jaya, Java, Kalimantan, Moluccas, Sumatra; Malaysia; Papua New Guinea
  • AUSTRALASIA Australia:- Northern Territory, Queensland [n.], Western Australia



  • TherapyOil of cajuput is a diffusible stimulant of great power, and is indicated in all depressed and collapsed states of disease where there is no inflammation; such as we find in the advanced stage of adynamic fevers and malignant diseases. It stops the spasms, overcomes the collapsed condition, and in many cases effects complete reaction.
  • The leaves yield cajuput oil produced by steam distillation has been used as external applications for: - headache, tooth-ache, ear-ache, rheumatism, bruises, sprains, contusions, chilblains, lameness, and other painful affections, the compound tincture (liniment) of camphor, well rubbed in before the fire, will be found to afford relief. The oil of cajuput and its preparations may be given on sugar, or mixed with honey, or in an emulsion, or in warm brandy and water.
  • Cajuput is a vermifuge, and may be used to destroy intestinal worms. It is antispasmodic, and is one of the most successful remedies ever employed in the painful cramps of Asiatic cholera was an established means of treatment among the older Eclectics. It is equally efficient in cholera morbus, cholera infantum, nervous vomiting, hysteria, and wherever there is depression of the vital powers associated with spasmodic action.
    It is
    important that there should be no inflammation present when cajuput is employed; and when it is given internally in such complaints as cholera morbus, or spasms of the bowels, care should be taken not to excite inflammation of the stomach by a too free use of the remedy.
  • In acne rosacea, psoriasis and other scaly skin diseases the oil, undiluted, should be applied to the diseased skin three times a day.
  • In toothache the oil should be applied to the cavity of the tooth on cotton.
  • In neuralgia the oil should be applied to the seat of pain.
  • It is generally used in the round for posts, poles and piling.
  • Good fuelwood.
  • M. cajuputi makes an attractive ornamental tree, can be used for shade and shelter, and is a source of honey.
  • In Melaka, the trees of gelam have been used as a road-side shade trees in low lying stretches where they cross rice-swamps, but the crown is not enough to shade wide road.
  • This cineole-rich essential oil is used in local medicines and as an antiseptic and insect repellent.

  • Environmental: ornamental
  • Materials: essential oils
  • Medicines: folklore

Timber and properties

  • The sapwood is light pink-brown in colour and sharply defined from heartwood which has a slightly darker shade.
  • The timber is moderately hard, and moderately heavy to heavy with an air dry density of 720 to 820 kg nr3 (average 755 kg m y}.
  • Texture is moderately fine to fine and even.
  • Grain is straight to shallowly interlocked. The timber has been reported to be durable especially in contact with wet ground and sea water.
  • Based on the density, the timber appears to be stronger than rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis) (density 560 - 640 kg m"3), light red meranti (Shorea spp.) (density 385 - 755 kg and mersawa (Anisoptera) (density 515 0735 kg nr1) but weaker than such timber as redbalau (Shorea spp.) (density 800 - 880 kg m'3), keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.)(density 690 - 945 kg nr3) and kempas (Koompassia malaccensis) (density 770- 1120 kg m-3).

The use of this timber is limited as the trees are available only in some restricted locations, particularly in the coastal swamp areas. The trees are often crooked and small, unattractive for use as sawn timber except for firewood. However, those well-shaped trees of good height can be used for poles, fishing stakes and piling works. The timber can also be used for parquet and strip flooring. When laminated, it can be used for such purposes as floor boards, stair steps, hand rails, table top and chair seat.

papery bark has been used for caulking wooden boats.


1) Polination Ecology: (Jurnal written by Nguyen Quang Tan)
Polinater: Nypa fruticans

The submerged Melaleuca forests have an important role in the regulation of climate and the protection of wildlife and the environment in southern Vietnam. This paper studies the pollination ecology of the Asian giant honey bee (Apis dorsata), the Asian dwarf honey bee (Apis florea) and other pollinators on the two prominent plants (Melaleuca cajuputi and Nypa fruticans) in the forests. The results show that the nectar of Melaleuca flowers was secreted in the largest volume with the lowest sugar content in the early morning. Then, due to evaporation, the volume dropped to the lowest with the highest sugar content in the early afternoon. The sugar value present in Melaleuca flowers was the highest (466 μg of sugar per flower) at 10.00 h in the morning. Nypa flowers opened early in the morning, their pollen release increased gradually, reached a peak at 09.00 h and finished at sunset. The study of pollinators on the Melaleuca and Nypa flowers showed the three following forms of partitioning in the Melaleuca forests: 1. Different plants have different visitors; 2. Different visitors visit the same plant at different times; and 3. For a visitor species, time is partitioned to visit different plants.

(J.H. Kim, K.H. Liu, Y. Yoon, Y. Sornnuwat, T. Kitirattrakarn, C. Anantachoke)

Abstract: Hydrodistillation of cajuput (Melaleuca cajuputi) leaves collected from 6 sites gave different yields of cajuput oils. The maximum oil yield (0.97%) was obtained from leaves from Ban Koke Kuwae, Thambon Kosit, and Amphur Tak Bai. The oil yields from leaf samples of other sites were 0.84% from Ban Pha Ye and Thambon Sungai Padi in Amphur Sungai Padi; 0.76% from Ban Lubosama, and Thambon Pasemat, in Amphur Sungai Kolok; 0.70% from Ban Tha Se, and Thambon Kosit, in Amphur Tak Bai; 0.66% from Ban Mai, and Thambon Sungai Padi, in Amphur Sungai Padi; and 0.56% from Ban Toh Daeng, and Thambon Phuyoh, in Amphur Sungai Kolok. Cajuput oil densities from the 2 sites of Amphur Sungai Kolok and from Ban Mai, Thambon Sungai Padi, Amphur Sungai Padi were almost the same, but higher than others. Although major components were not different, the minor components varied in terms of both structure and proportion. The major compositions of both cajuput oils from Ban Toh Daeng, Thambon Phuyoh, and Amphur Sungai Kolok consisted of 49.22% monoterpenes and 46.45% sesquiterpenes, and the rest were hydrocarbons and a diterpene. Other cajuput oils obtained composed mainly of monoterpenes (more than 62%), sesquiterpenes, hydrocarbons and some unknown compounds respectively. There was no diterpene present in these oils. Since
cajuput oil was locally used as insecticide, termicidal activities of all oils were also investigated.

ISHS Acta Horticulturae 680: III WOCMAP Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - Volume 6: Traditional Medicine and Nutraceuticals

J.C. Doran and B.V. GunnCSIRO Division of ForestryPO Box 4008 QVT, Canberra ACT 2600Australia

Tropical melaleucas are being used to reforest the inundated, acid sulphate lands of the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. M. cajuputi grows naturally in the Delta, this species and a number of other melaleucas with potential for the Mekong Delta are described. Melaleuca spp. seed collections undertaken in northern Australia and Papua New Guinea are summarised. The problems of weediness and successful propagation associated with melaleucas are discussed. Excess seed is available for interested research institutions.  melaleuca-cajuputi


Johnny Wee’s image of the Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) taking nectar from the tee tree or gelam (Melaleuca cajuputi) was taken in July 2013 at Singapore’s Pasir Ris Park. This tree is common in Malaysia, growing in swampy areas near the coast. It is a popular roadside and garden tree. The bark is whitish-grey, papery and flaky, thus its other common name, paper-bark tree. The flowers are small, in terminal bunches and with numerous, fluffy stamens. Fruits are small and woody. An oil is distilled from the leaves (that look like those of acacia), known as cajeput-oil and used medicinally.

*** Ada orang yang menggunakan Pokok Melaleuca Cajuputi bagi mengubati barah kerana pokok ini mengandungi bahan aktif Betulinic Acid.



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