Candle Nut
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Candle Nut
ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: Candle Nut, Candleberry, Indian walnut, Kemiri, Varnish tree, Kukui nut tree • Hindi: जंगली आख़रोट Jangli akhrot, अख़रोट Akhrot • Marathi: रामाखरोट Ramakrot, अखरोड Akhod, Japhala, Ranakot • Tamil: நாட்டு அகரொட்டு Nattu akrottu, Woodooga • Malayalam: Akrottu, Akshotam, Karankolam, Vadam • Telugu: Uduga, Natu akrotu • Kannada: ಅಕ್ರೋಡ Akroda, ನಾಟಕ್ರೋಡು Natakrodu, Arkod, ನಾಡಕ್ರೋಟು Naadu aakrotu • Oriya: Akshota • Sanskrit: Akharota, Akhota, Akshota, Asphotaka, Gudashaya
Botanical name: Aleurites moluccanus    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Aleurites javanicus, Aleurites pentaphyllus, Aleurites trilobus, Jatropha moluccana

Candle Nut an evergreen tree, native to Indo-Malaysia, and thrives in  moist tropical regions up to 1200 m elevation. It is a highly domesticated tree. It grows to a height of 15–25 metres, with wide spreading or pendulous branches. The leaves are pale green, simple and ovate, or 3-5 lobed, with a pointed tip, 10–20 cm long. Candle Nut has both male and  female flowers on the same plant. The greenish-white, fragrant flowers are  arranged in a 10–15 cm panicled cyme at the end of branches, with many  small male flowers surrounding the female flowers. The flowers are white to creamy in color, with five free petals, oblong in shape and up to  1.3 cm long. Male flowers are longer and thinner than female flowers. The plant typically flowers in the spring, although flowers  can be found nearly any time of year in many areas. The nut is round, 4–6 cm diameter - the seed inside has a very hard seed coat and a high oil content, which allows its use as a candle, hence its name. In Ancient Hawaiʻi, the nuts, named kukui were burned to provide light. The nuts were strung in a row on a palm leaf midrib, lit one end, and burned one by one every 15 minutes or so. Flowering: March-April.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Delhi University, Delhi.

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