Flora #7

Pinnai (or Punnai) aka Sultan Champa aka Nag Champa, is a beautiful large evergreen tree native to southern coastal India. The flowers have snow-white petals with a thick center of yellow stamens. The fragrant flowers have been prized as an adornment and as a perfume. The fruit (the ballnut) is a round, green drupe and having a single large seed. When ripe, the fruit is wrinkled and its color varies from yellow to brownish-red.

Besides being a popular ornamental plant, its wood is hard and strong and has been used in construction or boatbuilding. Traditional Pacific Islanders used Calophyllum wood to construct the keel of their canoes while the boat sides were made from breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) wood.

The seeds yield a thick, dark green tamanu oil for medicinal use or hair grease. Active ingredients in the oil are believed to regenerate tissue, so is sought after by cosmetics manufacturers as an ingredient in skin cremes.

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