Hydnocarpus pentandrus – Chaulmoogra

Other notes

Other Name Combinations: Hydnocarpus wightianus (WFO, 2022).


Natural History: It is an evergreen tree, endemic to the forests of Westerns Ghats. It grows along the water streams or in the sacred groves of moist forest. Leaves are elliptical, light green in colour when young and turns dark when matured. Fruits are round, hard, woody, containing pulp and many seeds inside.
Oil extracted from the seeds is known as Chaulmoogra Oil, which is widely used in traditional medicines for skin
diseases. The oil is semisolid at room temperature, has no odour but tastes acrid and bitter. The oil was widely used for the treatment of Leprosy during 1920-1940s, later it was replaced by more effective sulphones.



Nitin, R., V. C. Balakrishnan, P. V. Churi, S. Kalesh, S. Prakash, and K. Kunte. 2018. Larval host plants of the butterflies of the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 10:11495–11550. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.3104.10.4.11495-11550.

WFO (2022): World Flora Online. Accessed on 22 Dec 2022. URL: http://www.worldfloraonline.org/taxon/wfo-0001257146.

Flowers of India (2022). Accessed on 22 Dec 2022. URL: https://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Jangli%20Almond.html.

Page citation

Kawthankar, N. 2023. Hydnocarpus pentandrus (Buch.-Ham.) Oken – Chaulmoogra. In Kunte, K., S. Sondhi, and P. Roy (Chief Editors). Butterflies of India, v. 4.12. Published by the Indian Foundation for Butterflies. URL: https://www.ifoundbutterflies.org/hydnocarpus-pentandrus, accessed 2023/03/27.