From the book
Fruits of Warm Climates
by Julia F. Morton
Sandoricum koetjape Merr.
Sandoricum indicum Cav.
Sandoricum nervosum Blume
Melia koetjape Burm. f.
Perhaps the only important edible fruit in the family Meliaceae, the santol, Sandoricum koetjape Merr. (syns. S. indicum Cav., S. nervosum Blume, Melia koetjape
Burm. f.), is also known as sentieh, sentol, setol, sentul, setul,
setui, kechapi or ketapi, in Malaya; saton, satawn, katon, or ka-thon
in Thailand; kompem reach in Cambodia; tong in Laos; sau chua, sau tia,
sau do, mangoustanier sauvage, or faux mangoustanier in North Vietnam.
In the Philippines, it is santor or katul; in Indonesia, ketjapi or
sentool; on Sarawak and Brunei, it is klampu. In India, it may be
called sayai, sevai, sevamanu or visayan. In Guam, it is santor or wild
Fig. 52: Santol fruits photographed by Dr. Walter T. Swingle, Plant Explorer for the United States Department of Agriculture.
santol is a fast-growing, straight-trunked, pale-barked tree 50 to 150
ft (15-45 m) tall, branched close to the ground and buttressed when
old. Young branchlets are densely brown-hairy. The evergreen, or very
briefly deciduous, spirally-arranged leaves are compound, with 3
leaflets, elliptic to oblong-ovate, 4 to 10 in (20-25 cm) long, blunt
at the base and pointed at the apex. The greenish, yellowish, or
pinkish-yellow, 5-petalled flowers, about 3/8 in (1 cm) long are borne
on the young branchlets in loose, stalked panicles 6 to 12 in (15-30
cm) in length. The fruit (technically a capsule) is globose or oblate,
with wrinkles extending a short distance from the base; 1 1/2 to 3 in
(4-7.5 cm) wide; yellowish to golden, sometimes blushed with pink. The
downy rind may be thin or thick and contains a thin, milky juice. It is
edible, as is the white, translucent, juicy pulp (aril), sweet, subacid
or sour, surrounding the 3 to 5 brown, inedible seeds which are up to
3/4 in (2 cm) long, tightly clinging or sometimes free from the pulp.
Origin and Distribution
santol is believed native to former Indochina (especially Cambodia and
southern Laos) and Malaya, and to have been long ago introduced into
India, the Andaman Islands, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Moluccas,
Mauritius, and the Philippines where it has become naturalized. It is
commonly cultivated throughout these regions and the fruits are
abundant in the local markets.
Only a few specimens are known in
the western hemisphere: one in the Lancetilla Experimental Garden at
Tela, Honduras, and one or more in Costa Rica. Seeds have been
introduced into Florida several times since 1931. Most of the seedlings
have succumbed to cold injury. At least 3 have survived to bearing age
in special collections. Grafted plants from the Philippines have
fruited well at Fairchild Tropical Garden, Miami.
In Asia and
Malaysia, the tree is valued not just for its fruit, but for its timber
and as a shade tree for roadsides, being wind-resistant and
Plate XXIII: SANTOL, Sandoricum koetjape
There are two general types of santol: the Yellow (formerly S. indicum or S. nervosum); and the Red (formerly S. koetjape).
The leaflets of the Yellow, to 6 in (15 cm) long, turn yellow when old;
the flowers are pinkish-yellow in panicles to 6 in (15 cm) long; the
fruit has a thin rind and the pulp is 1/4 to 1/2 in (0.6-1.25 cm) thick
around the seeds and typically sweet. The fruit may not fan when ripe.
Only the Yellow is now found wild in Malayan forests.
leaflets of the Red, to 12 in (30 cm) long, velvety beneath, turn red
when old; the flowers are greenish or ivory, in panicles to 12 in (30
cm) long; the fruit has a thick rind, frequently to 1/2 in (1.25 cm);
there is less pulp around the seeds, and it is sour. The fruit falls
However, Corner says that these distinctions are not
always clear-cut except as to the dying leaf color, and the fruit may
not correspond to the classifications. There are sweet and acid strains
of both the Yellow and Red types and much variation in rind thickness.
santol is tropical and cannot be grown above 3,280 ft (1,000 m) in
Java. It flourishes in dry as well as moist areas of the Philippine
The tree has grown well in Florida in acid sandy soil and oolitic limestone, but in the latter the foliage becomes chlorotic.
The santol is reproduced by seeds, air-layering, inarching, or by budding onto self rootstocks.
The fruit ripens in Malaya in June and July; in Florida, August and September; in the Philippines, from July to October.
The Caribbean fruit fly (Anastrepha suspensa) causes freckle-like blemishes on the surface of the fruit but cannot penetrate the rind.
fruit is usually consumed raw without peeling. In India, it is eaten
with spices. With the seeds removed, it is made into jam or jelly.
Pared and quartered, it is cooked in sirup and preserved in jars. Young
fruits are candied in Malaysia by paring, removing the seeds, boiling
in water, then boiling a second time with sugar. In the Philippines,
santols are peeled chemically by dipping in hot water for 2 minutes or
more, then into a lye solution at 200º F (93.33º C) for 3 to
5 minutes. Subsequent washing in cool water removes the outer skin.
Then the fruits are cut open, seeded and commercially preserved in
sirup. Santol marmalade in glass jars is exported from the Philippines
to Oriental food dealers in the United States and probably elsewhere.
Very ripe fruits are naturally vinous and are fermented with rice to
make an alcoholic drink.
Fig. 51: Santol (Sandoricum indicum) marmalade made in the Philippines is sometimes imported into the United States.
Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Pulp
*According to analyses of yellow, thick-skinned, acid fruits in Honduras.
**According to analyses of the red type in the Philippines.
to analyses of unspecified type in India. The pericarp contains
glucose, sucrose, malic acid, tartaric acid and much pectin.
The sapwood is gray, merging into the heartwood which is reddish-brown
when dry, imparting the color to water. It is fairly hard, moderately
heavy, close-grained and polishes well, but is not always of good
quality. It is not durable in contact with moisture and is subject to
borers. However, it is plentiful, easy to saw and work, and accordingly
popular. If carefully seasoned, it can be employed for house-posts,
interior construction, light-framing, barrels, cabinetwork, boats,
carts, sandals, butcher's blocks, household utensils and carvings. When
burned, the wood emits an aromatic scent.
The dried heartwood yields 2 triterpenes–katonic acid and indicic acid–and an acidic resin.
Bark: In the Philippines, the bark is used in tanning fishing lines.
The preserved pulp is employed medicinally as an astringent, as is the
quince in Europe. Crushed leaves are poulticed on itching skin.
cases of fever in the Philippines, fresh leaves are placed on the body
to cause sweating and the leaf decoction is used to bathe the patient.
The bitter bark, containing the slightly toxic sandoricum acid, an
unnamed, toxic alkaloid, and a steroidal sapogenin, is applied on
ringworm and also enters into a potion given a woman after childbirth.
The aromatic, astringent root also serves the latter purpose, and is a
potent remedy for diarrhea. An infusion of the fresh or dried root, or
the bark, may be taken to relieve colic and stitch in the side. The
root is a stomachic and antispasmodic and prized as a tonic. It may be
crushed in a blend of vinegar and water which is then given as a
carminative and remedy for diarrhea and dysentery. Mixed with the bark
of Carapa obovata Blume, it is much used in Java to combat leucorrhea.
Last updated: 1/2/115 by ch