Caesalpinia sappan L.

Last updated: 28 April 2015

Scientific Name

Caesalpinia sappan L.


Biancaea sappan (L.) Tod. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Sepang (General) [2][3]
English Sappanwood, Indian redwood [2], Brazil wood, bukkum wood, false andal wood [3]
China Su fang mu [2]
India Vakam, vakum [2]
Indonesia Kayu secang, soga jawa (Javanese); secang (Sundanese) [2] [3]
Thailand Faang (General); faang som (Kanchanaburi); ngaai (Karen, Kanchanaburi) [2][3]
Laos Faang dèèng [2] [3]
Myanmar Teing-nyet [2], teing-nyet [3]
Philippines Sibukao (Tagalog, Bisaya); sapang (Tagalog, Bisaya, Ilokano) [2]
Cambodia Sbaèng [2]
Vietnam Vang nhuôm, tô môc [2] [3]
France Sappan [2], bois de sappan [3]
Spain Campeche sappan [3]

Geographical Distributions

The origin of Caesalpinia sappan is not certain, but it is believed to be in the region from central and southern India through Burma, Thailand, Indo-China and southern China to Peninsular Malaysia. [2]

Botanical Description

C. sappan comes from the family of Leguminosae. It is a small shrubby tree which can grow up to 4-8(-10) m tall. [2]

The roots are fibrous and wiry, lacking nodules and dark coloured. [2]

The trunk measures up to 14 cm in diametre. The bark is with distinct ridges and with many prickles. It is greyish-brown when young while the twigs and buds are hairy and brownish. [2]

The leaves are stipulate, bipinnate, measure up to 50 cm long and with 8-16 pairs of pinnae up to 20 cm long. The pinnae is with prickles at the base and with 10-20 pairs of oblong subsessile leaflets, measuring 10-20 mm x 6-10 mm long, very oblique at the base and rounded to emarginate at the apex. [2]

The flowers are in terminal panicles. The 5-merous flowers are 2-2.5 cm wide and yellow. The sepals are hairless but the petals are covered with soft hairs. There are 10 stamens while the filaments are woolly-hairy in the lower half. The ovary is superior and hairy. [2]

The fruit is a dehiscent pod, 2-5-seeded, oblong-obovate, measuring 7-9 cm x 3-4 cm, strongly flattened, shiny and smooth with curved beak at the apex. It is yellowish-green when young to reddish-brown when it ripens. [2]

The brown seeds are ellipsoid, flattened and measuring 18-20 mm x 10-12 mm. [2]


C. sappan is cultivated and naturalised in many parts of Malaysia (Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea) and also in India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Solomon Islands, and Hawaii. [2]

Under natural conditions, it is grows mostly in hilly areas with clayey soil and calcareous rocks at low and medium altitudes. In Peninsular Malaysia, it grows best on sandy riverbanks. It does not tolerate excessively wet soil conditions. It is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 700-4300 mm, annual mean temperature of 24-27.5°C, and soil pH of 5-7.5. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

Figure 1: The line drawing of C. sappan L. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Caesalpinia sappan L.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 Jul 14; cited 2015 Apr 22]. Available from:
  2. Utomo BI. Caesalpinia sappan L. In: Van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 2001; p. 129.
  3. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Sapang. Caesalpinia sappan L. [homepage on the Internet] c2014. [updated September 2014; cited 2015 Apr 28] Available from