It is also found in secondary forests, old garden areas and is widely planted around villages an settlements. They are large evergreen trees up to 40-50 m tall, with alternate, pinnate leaves.
It has been and continues to be a very important food tree in Melanesia and was an important component in one of the world’s first known permanent agricultural/arboricultural systems.
Uses of Canarium
Several species have edible nuts, known as Canarium nut, Pili nut or Galip nut. C. indicum and C. ovatum are among the most important nut-bearing trees in eastern Indonesia plus the SW Pacific and the Philippines respectively. Other species, most importantly C. luzonicum, produce the resin elemi.
Canarium odontophyllum (common name, Dabai) is a species of Canarium which is a delicious and nutritious fruit which tastes something like avocado. The skin and flesh are edible afer soaking in warm water.
Nut oils from Canarium species have been patented as a treatment for arthritis pain. The commercial product called ‘Arthrileaf’ comprises oil pressed from Canarium nuts mixed with a sorbolene base. The mixture is then applied to the skin.
The fruit contains protein, fat and carbohydrate, thereby making it a perfect food. It has been introduced from Borneo to Queensland, Australia. In addition to food for humans, this plant's fruit may be eaten by certain lemurs such as the Red-bellied Lemur in Madagascar's eastern rainforests.