Alstonia spatulata Bl., Bijdr. Fl. Ned. Ind. 16 (1826)

Latin for 'spatula shaped'

Alstonia cochinchensis Pierre ex Pit.
Alstonia cuneata Wall. ex G. Don.

Tree with abundant white sap. Leaves in whorls, spoon shaped, no ligule at base of petiole, lower surface whitish, secondary veins placed close together at perpendicular angle with midvein. Inflorescence with few flowers only. Fruits very long and narrow, placed in pairs; splitting open to expose many small seeds with two tufts of hairs for wind dispersal.

A small to medium-sized tree up to 25(-30) m tall, bole at first cylindrical, becoming fluted and shortly buttressed at the base, up to 40(-75) cm in diameter, outer bark grey, smooth, coming off in small papery flakes, inner bark pale yellow, with copious latex; leaves in whorls of 3-4(-5), spathulate or obovate, 3-12 cm x 1.8-4.8 cm, apex rounded, with 20-35(-40) pairs of secondary veins, petiole 4-10(-15) mm long; inflorescence few-flowered, pedicel 4-9 mm long, calyx glabrous, corolla glabrous outside; follicles glabrous, ca. 200 mm long, dehiscent, placed in pairs, exposing many small wind dispersed seeds when open. [from PROSEA]

Occurs scattered on poorly drained, frequently flooded, clay-rich alluvium and on gley soils on undulating land, particularly near streams, usually below 300 m altitude. It is often abundant in secondary or shrub vegetation.

In Indonesia, an aqueous extract of the bark is used throughout West Sumatra as a natural remedy for diabetes mellitus. In Sarawak, the latex is applied to sores and skin diseases. An extract of the pounded bark is an ingredient of febrifuges and vermifuges. The wood is used as pulai. The wood of the roots is used for pith helmets, rafts, rafters for fishery and as a replacement for cork. Exudate used to make chewing gum.

Birma, Indo-China, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and New Guinea.

Local names
Borneo: Lame, Pulai, Pulai banang, Pulai basung, Pulai kapas, Pulai paya, Pulai rawa.
English: Milkwood.
Indonesia: gabusan (Sundanese), pulai gabus (Palembang, Bangka), lame (Kalimantan).
Malaysia: pulai, pulai basong (Peninsular), pulai paya (Sarawak).
Thailand: thia, sia, tinpet phru (peninsular).
Vietnam: s[uwx]a l[as] b[af]ng, m[ows]p, m[of] cua n[uw][ows]c.