Home | Garden Plants | Herbs_and_Spices | Medical plants | Aromatic Plants | Tropical Coast Shores | Site Map | Links

Santalum album Sandalwood Santalaceae
The height of the evergreen tree is between 4 and 9 meters. They may live to one hundred years of age. The tree is variable in habit, usually upright to sprawling, and may intertwine with other species. The plant parasitizes the roots of other tree species, with a haustorium's adaptation on its own roots, but without major detriment to its hosts. An individual will form a non-obligate relationship with a number of other plants. Up to 300 species (including its own) can host the tree's development - supplying macronutrients phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, and shade - especially during early phases of development. It may propagate itself through wood suckering during its early development, establishing small stands. The reddish or brown bark can be almost black and is smooth in young trees, becoming cracked with a red reveal. The heartwood is pale green to white as the common name indicates. The leaves are thin, opposite and ovate to lanceolate in shape. Glabrous surface is shiny and bright green, with a glaucous pale reverse. Fruit is produced after three years, viable seeds after five. These seeds are distributed by birds.

It is a hemi-parasitic tree, occurring in semi-arid areas from India to the South Pacific and the northern coast of Australia. Originally endemic to eastern Indonesia, northern Australia and tropical areas of the Indian peninsula. It is now indigenous to deciduous, dry forests of China, India, Hawaii, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and Northwestern Australia, although the extent of human dispersal to these regions is not known.
S. album occurs in coastal dry forests at sea level and dunes or cliff tops up to 700 m. It normally grows in sandy or stony red soils, but a wide range of soil types are inhabited. This habitat has a temperature range from 0 to 38C and annual rainfall between 500 and 3000 mm.
Sandal wood is described as bitter, cooling, astringent, and useful in biliousness, vomiting, fever, thirst and heat of body. An emulsion of the wood is used as a cooling application to the skin in erysipelas, prurigo and sudamina.1 Two tolas of the watery emulsion of sandal wood, with the addition of sugar, honey and rice-water, is given to check gastric irritability and dysentery, and to relieve thirst and heat of body