Diospyros melabarica


D. malabarica



Local Names

Gaub tree




Native to the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia (Introduced to Pakistan)

DNA Barcode


Diospyros malabarica, the gaub tree, Malabar ebony, black-and-white ebony or pale moon ebony, is a species of flowering tree in the family Ebenaceae that is native to the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia. It is a long-lived, very slow-growing tree, which can reach up to 35 m in height with a black trunk up to 70 cm in diameter. It is an evergreen tree with white or green flowers. The tree is found in lowland rainforests, primarily along rivers and stream. The fruits are round, and yellow when ripe. It may be somewhat often astringent, even when ripe. Its common name is derived from the coast of southwestern India, Malabar. It is the provincial tree of Ang Thong Province in Thailand.

    Both the bark of the tree and the unripe fruit have medicinal uses in Ayurveda. This tree was mentioned as Tinduka by Sanskrit writers.
    Unripe leaves and fruits were traditionally used to dye cloth black.
    TEdible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
    Food (Fruit & Vegetable: Its fruit is edible when ripe.)
    Timber & Products (The timber is used for carpentry, furniture and handicrafts.)
    The unripe fruits and leaves are used to extract tannin to dye cloth black and for tanning nets and hides. The tannin is also medicinally. 
    The gum extracted from the fruits is also used to preserve the bottom of boats, repair seams and book binding.he wood is sometimes used in guitar manufacturing for its distinctive patterns. 
    The bark, leaves, flowers and fruits are much used in Ayurvedic medicine.

    The fruit, when unripe, is said to be cold, light, and astringent; and to possesses anti-bacterial and anthelmintic activity. It is used externally to heal sores and wounds.
    When ripe, the fruit is beneficial in treating diarrhoea and dysentery; blood diseases; gonorrhoea and leprosy. The fruit is also said to break fever, to be an antidote for snake poisoning, and to be demulcent.
    The juice of the fresh bark is useful in the treatment of bilious fevers.
    Externally, the bark is said to be a good application for treating boils and tumours.
    The medicinal properties of the plant are most likely due to the presence of tannins.
    The seeds are used as a treatment for diarrhoea and chronic dysentery.
    The oil extracted from the seeds is used medicinally.

Other Uses
    The fruit, especially when unripe, contains a viscid pulp that is rich in tannins and is the source of a gum. It can be used to caulk boats; to paint the undersides of boats and thus act as a preservative; and as a gum and adhesive in bookbinding.
    A dark oil prepared from the fruit (this is probably the gum, makes an excellent varnish for paper umbrellas and fans.
    An infusion of the fruit is used to toughen ropes and render them more durable in water.
    The unripe fruits (sometimes also the leaves) are a source of tannins that are used for dyeing silk and other clothes black.
    A valuable and highly decorative hardwood that is strong, hard, dense and very durable. It is used for items such as luxury furniture and wood carvings, and also as a raw material for boats and constructions (buildings, bridges etc.

We do not have any more specific information for this species. However, though varying widely in the relative proportion and the colouring of sapwood and heartwood, all the woods of the genus Diospyros are practically indistinguishable as regards their structure, as described below:-
Whether or not a given species produces heartwood depends largely on the size the tree has attained, but evidently also on other conditions, as there is a wide variation in the relative amounts of sapwood and heartwood even in individuals of the same species. When produced, the heartwood can be black with rosy, yellowish, brownish, or ashy streaks, sometimes it is nearly or totally black; it is generally sharply demarcated from the thin to very wide band of whitish, yellowish, or red sapwood. The texture is fine, smooth and (especially in the heartwood) very dense; the grain is generally very straight. The wood is hard to very hard; heavy to very heavy; the sapwood is tough and flexible whilst the heartwood is brittle; the heartwood is very durable, the sapwood moderately so. It is difficult to season well, logs almost invariably checking in several directions from the heart outward, while sawn lumber must be stacked carefully and weighted to prevent warping; once thoroughly dried, however, it becomes very stable. Its density makes it difficult to work, but it takes a beautiful surface under sharp tools.
Small trees containing little or no heartwood are used locally for posts, beams, joists, rafters, window sills, parts of agricultural implements, etc.; also, in lumbering, small poles are used for skids on account of their hardness, toughness and smooth wearing qualities. The heartwood (or sometimes sap and heart together) is used for scabbards, canes, hilts, tool handles, gunstocks, saw frames, etc.; it is a favorite for musical instruments, especially finger boards and keys of guitars; furniture, cabinetwork, inlaying; paper weights, inkstands and similar desk supplies; the sapwood, which is almost as hard as the heartwood and very much tougher, is an excellent material for T-squares and other drawing instruments, for shuttles, bobbins, spindles, golf-club heads and shafts, axe, pick, and hammer handles, etc.