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Family Anacardiaceae
Semecarpus cuneiformis Blanco

Dun ye rou tuo guo

Scientific names  Common names
Cassuvium perrottetii (Marchand) Kuntze Agas (P. Bis.)
Cassuvium philippinense (Engl.) Kuntze Anagas (P. Bis.)
Semecarpus cuneiformis Blanco Hanagas (Bis.)
Semecarpus elmeri Perkins Ingas ( BiK.)
Semecarpus ferrugineus Merr. Kamiing (Sbl.)
Semecarpus lanceolatus Ridl. Kaming (Pamp., Tag.)
Semecarpus megabotrys Merr. Kamiding (Ig.)
Semecarpus merrillianus Perkins Kamiling (Ting.)
Semecarpus micranthus Perkins Kamiring (Ibn., Ilk.)
Semecarpus obtusifolius Merr. Libas (Bon.)
Semecarpus perrottetii Marchand Lañgas (Bis.)
Semecarpus perrottetii Marchand Loñgas (C. Bis.)
Semecarpus perrottetii var. glaber Marchal Ligas (Pamp., Tag.)
Semecarpus philippinensis Engl. Pakan (Bon.)
Semecarpus pilosus Merr. Ligas tree (Engl.)
Semecarpus ridleyi Merr. Marking nut tree (Engl.)
Semecarpus sideroxyloides Perkins Oriental cashew (Engl.)
Semecarpus taftianus Perkins  
Semecarpus thyrsoideus Elmer  
Semecarpus whitfordii Merr.  
Libas is a common name shared by (1) Spondias pinnata (2) Salix tetrasperma (3) Balbas-bakiro (Momordica cochinchinensis) (4) Ligas (Semecarpus cuneiformis).
Semecarpus cuneiformis Blanco is an accepted. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Dun ye rou tuo guo, Lan yu.
MALAY: Kutang

Gen info
- Semecarpus is a genus of plants in the family Anacardiaceae. It includes 87 species.
- The genus Semecarpus was erected by Carl Linnaeus the Younger in 1782 in Supplementum Plantarum.
- Semicarpus cuneiformis is a tree in the cashew and sumac family Anacardiaceae.
- Etymology: The genus name Semicarpus derives from Latin semi meaning half, and Ancient Greek karpos, meaning fruit, referring to the appearance of the fruit. The specific epithet cuneiformis derives from Latin meaning "wedge-shaped," referring to the leaf base. (31)
- Krus Na Ligas: A barangay in Quezon City, once occupied by "illegal settlers, was sold to residents by edict of Republic Act No. 11454, derives its name "Krus Na Ligas" from a colonial period narrative of a Spanish soldier asking what the name of the place was, and a local thinking the Spaniard was inquiring about the name of a tree he was pointing at, which was growing in a cross formation, said: Krus Na Ligas, and the barangay named after the tree. (31) (32)

• Ligas is a small tree growing to a height of 12 meters. Leaves are crowded at the end of the branches, lanceolate-obovate to oblong-obovate, 10 to 25 centimeters long, hairy, whitish beneath, rounded or somewhat pointed at the tip and usually pointed at the base. Flowers are whitish, 2 to 2.5 millimeters long, borne on panicles that are longer than the leaves. Fruits are borne in clusters, resembling the kasui, but much smaller. Drupe is ovoid, oblique, 1 centimeter long, grows at the top of a red or purple, fleshy and edible fruit, which is about as long as the drupe. The "fruit," like that of the kasui, is really the enlarged stalk and receptacle (torus) of the flower.

• Trees, 4-20 m tall; branchlets brownish. Petiole 1-3 cm, sparsely pubescent; leaf blade obovate-oblong to narrowly elliptic, 8-35 × 2-9 cm, leathery, adaxially glabrous to minutely pubescent, abaxially variable in hairiness from densely tomentose or pubescent to rarely glabrous, with distinct papillae except on midrib and major veins, base cuneate to obtuse, margin entire, apex variable from acute to rounded, lateral veins 11-25 pairs, prominent abaxially, reticulate venation prominent abaxially, distinct to indistinct adaxially. Inflorescence paniculate, 15-30 cm, tomentose or pubescent; floral subtending bracts 0.5-3 mm. Pedicel missing or very short; flowers greenish white. Calyx lobes broadly ovate, 0.5-1 mm, obtuse apically. Petals ovate-oblong to elliptic, 1.5-3 mm, minutely pubescent to glabrous, longitudinally veined. Stamens 2.5-3 mm; anthers ca. 0.7 mm; staminodes in female flowers ca. 1 mm. Disk round, flat, 1-2 mm across, pilose. Ovary ca. 2 mm across, densely pubescent. Drupe ovoid to broadly ellipsoid, 1-2 × 0.7-1.5 cm, apex obtuse, lower part covered by hypocarp. (Flora of China)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Common in dry thickets and secondary forests at low altitudes in Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Bontoc, La Union, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Rizal, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Quezon and Sorsogon Provinces in Luzon; and in Mindoro, Palawan, Leyte, Negros, and Guimaras.

- Also native to Borneo, Lesser Sunda Is., Sulawesi, Taiwan. (29)

- Phytochemical analysis of leaves by thin layer chromatography yielded alkaloids, coumarins, anthraquinones, anthrones, tannins, flavonoids, higher alcohols, phenols, steroids, and essential oils. (33)

- Oil of pericarp is caustic and escharotic.

Caution !
- Although many persons are probably immune to poisoning from the hairs on the leaves, in the Philippines the plant is usually regarded as poisonous, with reports of severe contact dermatitis.
- The sap is considered a violent contact poison which can cause painful swelling and minute blistering pustular skin eruptions.
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Study showed uroshiol to be the active allergen in seeds. (see study below) (28)

Parts utilized
Leaves, fruit, stem sap, oil.

- Fruit like a cashew about 1 cm long is edible. (Shell surrounding the seed may contain a strongly irritant substance.)
- In Mt. Arayat, Pampanga, used for treatment of indolent ulcers and chicken pox. (34)
- In Antique, for itchiness, coconut oil is added to seven leaves burned to ashes and applied on itchy parts. (35)
- Oil from pericarp is escharotic and caustic; sometimes applied externally for treatment of indolent ulcers. (36)
- The indigenous Sambal-Bolinao of Pangasinan, Philippines use leaves for the treatment of scabies. Kamiing and mangga used for suob. Coconut oil used as atang and applied to affected areas. (37)
- In Malaysia, burned leaves used for treatment of wounds; leaves burned and smoke inhaled.  (38)
- Fruits used as folk remedy for non-bleeding hemorrhoids. Also used for treatment of ascites, tumors, and bronchospasm. (39)
- The Ati tribe in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, apply sap of stem to fungal skin infections. (40)
- In Bohol, leaves used for treatment of loose bowel movements, chicken pox, gas pains. In Aklan, leaves used for treatment of wounds. (27)
- Teeth blackening: The black and tarry, but highly irritant sap/resin from the bark and pericarp used for teeth blackening by a small proportion of Isneg people of norther Luzon who were reportedly immune to the irritant (Vanoverbergh, 1972).

Quisumbing lists Semicarpus cuneiformis and S. anacardium Blanco as scientific synonyms.
Semecarpus anacardiiuum Blanco is currently unchecked and awaiting taxonomic scrutiny. (WFO) (28)
• Previous section on studies were mostly on Semecarpus anacardium L.f., a separate species.
• There is a dearth on studies for Semecarpus cuneiformis.

Phytoconstituents / Leaves: See constituents above.


Updated May 2024 / March 2018 / February 2015

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / File:Semecarpus microcarpa Blanco1.75-cropped.jpg / Plate from book / Flora de Filipinas / Francisco Manuel Blanco (OSA) / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Liner Drawing / Figure 51 from Philippine Resins, Gums, Seed Oils, and Essential Oils Bulletin No. 20 / Augustus P. West and William H. Brown, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry, Philippine Islands/ 1903 / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Semecarpus cuneiformis redolens / © all rights reserved / 張玉慧 / Image modified / Click on image or link to go to source page / iNaturalist

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
'Teeth as black as a bumble bee’s wings’: The ethnobotany of teeth blackening in Southeast Asia
/ Thomas J Zumbroich / Ethnobotany Research & Applications, 2009; 7: pp 381-398
Semecarpus cuneiformis / Philippine Traditional Knowledge Digital Library on Health
Semecarpus anacardium Blanco / WFO: World Flora Online
Semecarpus cuneiformis / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Minor Products of Philippine Forests / Brown. W. H. / Bureau of Forestry, Manilla--1920
Semecarpus cuneiformis / Wikipedia
UP and Barangay Krus Na Ligas: Intersections of History / Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta
Molecular identification and phytochemical profiling of kamiling (wild toxic plant) using thin layer chromatography / Dana Theresa C de Leon, John Dave C Aquino, Mary Jhane G Valentino, Jerwin R Undan / IJSM: International Journal of Secondary Metabolite, 2018; 5(3): pp 217-223 /
DOI: 10.21448/ijsm.453009
A checklist and conservation status of the medicinal plants of Mount Arayat National Park, Pampanga, Philippines / Marlon DL Suba, Axel H Arriola, Grecebio Jonathan D Alejandro / BIODIVERSITAS, 2019; 20(4): pp 1034-1041 / ISSN: 1412-033X / eISSN: 2085-4722 / DOI: 10.13057/biodiv/d200414
Semecarpus cuneiformis / Philippines Traditional Knowledge Digital Library on Health
Semecarpus cuneiformis / Ken Fern: Tropical Plants Database / Useful Tropical Plants
Ethnobotanical Study of Traditional Medicinal Plants Used By Indigenous Sambal-Bolinao of Pangasinan, Philippines / WT Fajardo, LT Cancino, EB Dudang, IA de Vera, RM Pambid, AD Junio /PSU JONAS, 2017; 1(1): pp 45-55
An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal and other useful plants of Muruts in Sabah, Malaysia
/ Julius Kulip / Telopea, 2003; 10(1)
Ligas / Inventory of Terrestrial Flora
Ethnopharmacological Study of the Ati Tribe in Nagpana, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo / D A Madulid et al / Acta Manilana, 1989; 38: pp 25-40

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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