Kou Plant Information

Kou grows in the following 1 states:


Cordia subcordata is a species of flowering tree in the borage family, Boraginaceae, that occurs in eastern Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, northern Australia and the Pacific Islands. The plant is known by a variety of names including Mareer, Kerosene wood, Manjak, Snottygobbles, Glueberry, Narrow-leafed Bird Lime Tree, "Kanawa," Tou, and Kou. In Java and Madura, it is known as Kalimasada, Purnamasada, or Pramasada; Javanese folklore consider the tree to contain spiritual power.

C. subcordata grows to 7-10m (23-33ft) at maturity, but may be as tall as 15m (49ft). It has ovate leaves that are 8-20cm (3.1-7.9in) and 5-13cm (2.0-5.1in) wide.
The tubular flowers of C. subcordata are 2.5-4cm (0.98-1.57in) in diameter and form cymes or panicles.Petals are orange and the sepals are pale green. Blooming occurs throughout the year, but most flowers are produced in the spring.
C. subcordata produces fruit year round. They are spherical, 2-3cm (0.79-1.18in) long, and woody when mature. Each fruit contains four or fewer seeds that are 10-13mm (0.39-0.51in) long. The fruit are buoyant and may be carried long distances by ocean currents.
C. subcordata is a tree of the coasts, found at elevations from sea level to 30m (98ft), but may grow at up to 150m (490ft). It grows in areas that receive 1,000-4,000mm (39-157in) of annual rainfall. C. subcordata prefers neutral to alkaline soils (pH of 6.1 to 7.4), such as those originating from basalt, limestone, clay, or sand. Allowable soil textures include sand, sandy loam, loam, sandy clay loam, sandy clay, clay loam, and clay.
The seeds are edible and have been eaten during famine. C. subcordata burns readily, and this led to the nickname of Kerosene Tree in Papua New Guinea. The wood of the tree has a specific gravity of 0.45, is soft, durable, easily worked, and resistant to termites. In ancient Hawaii kou wood was used to make umeke (bowls), utensils, and umeke lau (large calabashes) because it did not impart a foul taste to food. Umeke lau were 8-16 litres (2-4 gal) and used to store and ferment poi. The flowers were used to make lei, while a dye for kapa cloth and aho (fishing lines) was derived from the leaves.
Media related to Cordia subcordata at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Cordia subcordata at Wikispecies

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