Diospyros ebenum

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Diospyros ebenum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ebenaceae
Genus: Diospyros
Species: D. ebenum
Binomial name
Diospyros ebenum

Diospyros ebenum is a species of tree occurring in southern India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The variety of the wood found in North Sulawesi, Indonesia is Diospyros ebenum Koenig.[1][2] It is best known for being one of the trees that yield ebony; the wood of this tree is called Ceylon Ebony or India Ebony, but often simply called "ebony". Known as "Kaluwara" by Sinhalese people due to hard black wood of the tree. Both India and Sri Lanka have laws prohibiting international trade of the wood.

The tree is a medium-sized evergreen, reaching 20–25 m tall.[3] The leaves are entire, about 6–15 cm long and 3–5 cm broad. The fruit is a small berry 2 cm diameter, similar to a small persimmon. This slow growing tree is native to dry and intermediate zones.

A medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall, bole straight, up to 90 cm in diameter, with buttresses up to 2 m high, bark surface scaly, fissured, black to grey-black. Leaves ovate-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 5–13 cm x 2–6 cm, base cuneate to rounded, apex slightly acuminate to rounded, glabrous, tertiary venation reticulate, inconspicuous above, prominent below. Flowers mostly male and bisexual; male flowers in 3-16-flowered cymes, 4-merous, stamens 16; female and bisexual flowers solitary, 3-4 merous, calyx lobes valvate, glabrous, corolla divided to about halfway, staminodes 8, ovary with a single 4-5-lobed style and 8 uni-ovulate locules.[4] Fruit depressed globose to subglobose, up to 1.5 cm across, glabrous. D. ebenum has been known for its black wood since ancient times.

Diospyros ebenum stem

Functional Uses[edit]

  • Products

Medicine: The gummy astringent fruits are used as a medicine and eaten in times of famine. Poison: The gummy astringent fruits also used as fish poison. Timber: D. ebenum is said to produce the best commercial black ebony. It is mainly exported to China for furniture and to Europe as fancy wood.

  • Services

Shade or shelter: The tree has been planted in India as a shade tree for cardamom.

Propagation and management[edit]

  • Propagation methods

Propagation is from seed or stumps.

  • Germplasm Management

One kg contains about 9000 seeds.


Media related to Diospyros ebenum at Wikimedia Commons