Engkala, Pong Labon
small tree t full sun, semi-shade, regular water, edible, ultra
tropical, min. temp. 55F
Bengali - rare exotic fruit tree. Small fruit, with pink to
purple skin and excellent delicate, avocado-like flavor. The fruits
are little known, but reputedly well-liked by those who have had the
chance to try them. Eaten fresh or used to prepare foods. The fruit
can be used in the same way as the avocado. Litsea seeds contain
fats that are used in the production of soaps and candles. The tree
comes from Sarawak and South-west Sabah where it can be seen growing
along riverbanks and scattered near villages. The foliage looks
somewhat like that of the avocado, however the leaves are longer and
droop more gracefully. There have been attempts to cultivate the
engkala in Java. The round fruits (35 to 45 mm in diameter),
flattened top and bottom, have thin, edible bright pink skins.
Medium to thick flesh surrounds the single, avocado-like seed (1").
It is creamy-white and similar to avocado, but softer with a more
delicate flavor. The fruit is prepared by rolling it around a
basket, or hitting it with the back of a spoon. The seeds are a
source of fat and are used to manufacture candles and soap. The
engkala grows rapidly and tolerates high light levels if well
Sub-canopy tree up to 26 m tall and 49 cm dbh. Stipules absent.
Leaves alternate, simple, penni-veined, silvery shiny when young,
glabrous. Flowers ca. 15 mm diameter, white-yellow, placed in
racemes. Fruits ca. 24 mm diameter, white-yellow, fleshy drupes
placed on enlarged flower base (cupule).
On disturbed, open sites in mixed dipterocarp forests up to 200 m
altitude. Often along rivers or on hillsides with sandy to clay
soils. Also commonly cultivated.
The wood is used. Lightly burned bark used to cure caterpillar
stings. Fruits are edible. Oil is extracted from the seeds.
Taiwan, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo (throughout the
island), Philippines, Celebes.
Local names in Borneo
Kangkala, Medang, Pangalaban, Ta'ang.
Small fruit, only 1-1.5" across, with pink to purple skin that is
said to have an excellent
delicate, avocado-like flavor. The fruits are little known, but
reputedly well-liked by those who have had the chance to try them.
Description: Tropical tree which loves water and is often found
growing near rivers and streams.
Propagation: By seeds.
Uses: Eaten fresh or used to prepare foods. The fruit can be used
in the same way as the avocado. Litsea seeds contain fats that are
used in the production of soaps and candles.
Native Range: Native to the Sarawak and Sabah regions of Borneo,
in Malaysia and Indonesia.