Twenty species of leguminous trees and woody climbers belong to this genus, which occurs throughout the tropics. Pterocarpus marsupium was cultivated under glass in the 19th century, but is seldom seed today outside the tropics. It yields a very astringent sap, known as "kino", that hardens into brittle, red-black pieces; when chewed, kino turns the saliva red. Kino resembles Acacia catechu (See, Black Catechu) in its chemistry, containing coumpounds similar to those extracted from other Pterocarpus species and from the unrelated Coccoloba uvifera (West Indian Kino, Jamaica Kino) and Butea frondosa (Bengal Kino). Pterocarpus santalinus is valued for its purple-red wood, which has anti-diabetic properties and is used as a coloring agent in medicines. In Cambodia, the red sap of P. cambodianus is used to fill teeth. Pterocarpus comes from the Greek pteron, "wing", and karpos, "fruit", referring to the winged pods.

Large, deciduous tree with gray bark, red gum, and leathery leaves. Pale yellow flowers appear in lax clusters in late spring, followed by conspicuous pods, encircled by a broad wing, to 5cm (2in) across, and containing kidney-shaped seeds.

Common Name:
Other Names:
Malabar Kino, Bastard Teak
Botanical Name:
Pterocarpus marsupium
Native Location:
S and C India, and Sri Lanka
Well-drained soil in sun.
By seed sown when ripe.
Sap is tapped from incisions in the trunk and dried for use in powders and tinctures. Bark is collected as required and used in the form of powder and decoctions. Leaves are picked during the growing season and crushed for poultices.
18m (60ft)
10m (30ft)
Min. 15-18°C (59-64°F)
Parts Used:
Sap, occasionally bark and leaves.
A very astringent herb that controls diarrhea and discharges, promotes healing, and has anti-diabetic effects.
Medicinal Uses:
Internally for diarrhea, dysentery, and diabetes. Externally for sore throat, boils, sores, skin diseases, and vaginal discharge.
Encyclopedia of Herbs by Deni Brown Copyright © 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited Pg 335