Plant Species with Essential Oil for Perfume Production Part 5


Common name: pili
Scientific Name: Canarium ovatum Engl.


Pili is a large ­size tree reaching a height of bout 35 m and 1 m or more in diameter at breast height. The leaves are alternate, pinnate, about 30 cm long, with usually three pairs of opposite leaflets and a terminal leaflet. The leaflets are smooth, ovate/oblong, 12 to 20 cm long, 3 to 7 cm wide, smooth and shiny on both sides, pointed at the apex and rounded or obtusely pointed at the base. The flowers are clustered and borne on large compound inflorescence. The fruit is ovoid, 4 to 5 cm long, 2 to 2.5 cm wide, entirely smooth. The rind is greenish when young and turns black when ripe. It contains a brown, hard-­shelled, triangular nut pointed at both ends where the edible flesh is embedded.


Pili can be propagated through seeds. It can also be propagated by asexual method through marcotting and air layering. Small and large sized branches can be used. Some branches can be easily marcotted while others are less responsive.


Once the seedlings reach the desired height of 25 to 30 cm in height, they can be outplanted at the onset of rainy season to ensure a greater survival. Brushing and weeding during the early growth stage should be done. Mulching the base of the seedlings is done to reduce evaporation, drying and hardening of the soil.

Economic Uses

The flesh of pili nut which is edible (a good substitute for almond) could be eaten raw or processed into various types of sweets and candies.

The oil from the nut is suitable for culinary purposes while that coming from the pulp may be used for oil lamp lighting as well as cooking. The shell is an excellent fuel or as component in the production of charcoal briquette and just a handful is enough to cook a simple dish. The young leaves are used as ingredient for salads and relishes.

The resin of pili is commercially called “Manila elemi” or “brea blanco”, locally known as “sahing” or “salong”. It is yellowish/greenish white, sticky, soft, opaque, fragrant oil mass which gradually becomes hard when exposed.

It is exported to Europe and China where it is used in making transparent paper for window panes in place of glass. Also, it is an important ingredient in the manufacture of plastic, printing inks for lithographic works, perfumes and plaster. This resin gives toughness and elasticity to lacquer, varnish and paint products. Locally, this is used to caulk boats and as illuminant for native torches.

It can also be an ornamental tree. With its straight and well-formed trunk, it is planted along roads and avenues for landscape purposes.

Mindanao Cinnamon

Common name: Mindanao cinnamon
Scientific Name: Cinnamomum mindanaense Elm.


It is usually a small tree, about 10 m in height. The leaves are opposite to sub­-opposite, smooth leathery, pointed at both ends, 7­15 cm long. The flowers are greenish, about 5 mm long and borne on compound inflorescence. Mature fruits are 1.25 cm long and 7.5 mm wide and have a shining steel blue color.


Mindanao cinnamon can be propagated through sexual and asexual method. Seeds can be collected when fruits are already mature. Seeds can be sown in seedbeds or directly in plastic bags with potting medium. When the seedlings reach the desired height of about 25 cm to 30 cm in height, outplant during the onset of rainy season. For asexual method, stem/branch cutting is used and can be treated by dipping with rooting hormones like indolebutyric acetic acid (IBAA powder) of about 0.8%. Plant the cuttings in 4″ x 8″ polyethylene bags with garden soil as a medium, deep enough that one bud shows above the medium. This activity should be done on a partially shaded area.


Water the seedlings/cuttings as often as necessary to keep the soil moist. Mulch the seedlings with leaves to reduce evaporation and conserve moisture in the soil. Weeding and brushing should be done regularly to avoid nutrient competition until the plant survives.

Economic Uses

  • Barks
    • ­used to remedy stomach ache
    • ­as oil­-cooked meat flavoring
    • ­for soap scenting and perfumery
    • ­for fuelwood
  • Wood – used by farmers in making carabao sledge because of its hard and light properties
  • Leaves, roots, branches
    • ­used as stimulant and has carminative properties
    • ­used to remedy rheumatism, stomach trouble, fever
    • ­used to neutralize poison­-infected wounds
    • ­contains engenol, terpines, cinnemic aldehyde and benzaldehyde as useful compound (PCARRD 1988)

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