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Starr 070215-4556 Aleurites moluccana.jpg
Candlenut (A. moluccana)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Crotonoideae
Tribe: Aleuritideae
Subtribe: Aleuritinae
Genus: Aleurites
J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.

See section Species.


Camirium Gaertn.[1]

Candlenut (Aleurites moluccana)
Candlenut seedling

Aleurites is a small arborescent genus of flowering plants in the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, the Pacific and South America, belonging to the spurge family Euphorbiaceae.

These monoecious, evergreen trees are perennials or semi-perennials. These are large trees, 15–40 metres (49–131 ft) tall, with spreading drooping and rising branches.

The leaves are alternate, lobate, ovate to ovate-lanceolate with minute stipules. They are pubescent on both sides when young, but in a later stage they become glabrous.

The inflorescence consists of terminal plumes of small, creamy white bell-shaped fragrant flowers, branching from the base. The flowers are usually bisexual, with a solitary pistillate flower at the end of each major axis. The lateral cymes are staminate. There are five or six imbricate petals. The staminate flowers are mostly longer and thinner than the pistillate flowers, with 17-32 glabrous stamens in four whorls. The pistillate flowers have a superior ovary.

The fruits are rather large drupes with a fleshy exocarp and a thin, woody endocarp. They vary in shape, according to the numbers of developed locules. They contain oleiferous, poisonous seeds.

The oil has been used as a paraffin, lubricant and as a constituent of varnish, paint and soap. Once poisonous substances are removed, it can be used as a cooking oil

Some deciduous Chinese species are now classified under a separate genus Vernicia.

The name Aleurites is derived from a Greek word meaning "wheaten flour", because of the appearance of the lower surface of the leaf.

Taxonomy and nomenclature[edit]

Linnaeus assigned the Latin feminine grammatical gender to the genus name Aleurites, as for example in the species name Aleurites moluccana. The current International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants has standardized all genus names ending in -ites to use the masculine gender, so the correct name of the species Aleurites moluccanus.[2][3]


The most widespread species is the Candlenut (Aleurites moluccana), occurring from tropical Asia, the Pacific, from India to China and Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand. Some botanists only recognize two species, Aleurites moluccanus and Aleurites rockinghamensis.

Formerly placed here[edit]


  1. ^ "Genus: Aleurites J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  2. ^ "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". 
  3. ^ McNeill, J.; Barrie, F.R.; Buck, W.R.; Demoulin, V.; Greuter, W.; Hawksworth, D.L.; Herendeen, P.S.; Knapp, S.; Marhold, K.; Prado, J.; Prud'homme Van Reine, W.F.; Smith, G.F.; Wiersema, J.H.; Turland, N.J. (2012). International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Melbourne Code) adopted by the Eighteenth International Botanical Congress Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. Regnum Vegetabile 154. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag KG. ISBN 978-3-87429-425-6.  Article 62.4
  4. ^ a b "GRIN Species Records of Aleurites". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 


  • Stuppy, W.; P.C. van Welzen; P. Klinratana; M.C.T. Posa (1999). "Revision of the genera Aleurites, Reutealis and Vernicia (Euphorbiaceae)". Blumea 44: 73–98. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Aleurites at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Aleurites at Wikispecies