Botanical name: Santalum album Family: Santalaceae (Sandalwood family)
Synonyms: Sirium myrtifolium, Santalum ovatum, Santalum myrtifolium
Sandalwood is an evergreen tree, growing up to 4-9 m tall. The trees have a long life, and may live up to one hundred years of age. The tree is variable in habit, usually upright to sprawling, and may intertwine with other species. The plant parasitises the roots of other tree species, but without major detriment to its hosts. The reddish or brown bark can be almost black and is smooth in young trees, becoming cracked with a red reveal. The heartwood is pale green to white as the common name indicates. The oval leaves are thin, oppositely arranged. Smooth surface is shiny and bright green, with a glaucous pale underside. Fruit is produced after three years, viable seeds after five. These seeds are distributed by birds.
Medicinal uses: Sandalwood oil was used traditionally to treat skin diseases, acne, dysentery, gonorrhea, and a number of other conditions. In traditional Chinese medicine, sandalwood oil is considered an excellent sedating agent.
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