Pulasari wood appears as a light tan with thin pieces characteristic of a small liana. All parts of the plant are fragrant, though the bark is generally preferred for aromatic applications. The main source of aroma is due to the high coumarin content. The plant is also know to contain various tannins and alkaloids. The herb is sometimes used as a spice & flavoring agent in Indonesia, though it imparts a certain amount of bitterness. In Hawai'i, fragrant cut pieces of Pulasari were used as an altar offering, especially upon Hula altars. The herb is considered sacred to the goddess Laka.
The wood produces a similar aroma to cinnamon when placed upon a hot charcoal, with more pronounce coumarin notes. The earthy and sweet scent is somewhat subdued by the harsher smoke produced by the burning wood. It is much easier to release aromatic oils by heating the wood indirectly. Notes similar to cinnamon are noticeable, with somewhat earthy tones and hints of what appear to be reminiscent of nag champa incense. Curious if Pulasari may be an ingredient in some nag champa blends. As with most woods, herbs and spices; an extract may prove to be more useful for aromatic uses. The wood and roots of various Alyxia species have been used as incense throughout Indonesia, Java, Vietnam & Thailand.
Traditionally, Pulasari plants are commonly used in the making of fragrant leis in Hawai'i. It is also commonly used to impart fabrics with its pleasant aroma. Fresh parts of the plant are used in steam baths to rid body odor. It also appears to be used to flavor some wines. Medicinally, Pulasari is used in the production of Indonesian Jamu herbal remedies. It also finds use in traditional Hawaiian medicine for cleaning abscesses, hemorrhoids and deep cuts.
Kingdom: Group: Family: Genus: Species:
Plantae Angiosperms Apocynaeae Alyxia stellata
Originally described by:
Johann Jacob Roemer (1763-1819) Josef August Schultes(1773-1831)
A. stella is found throughout both dry and moist tropical regions of the South Pacific.
Endemic to Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawaiian Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Queensland, Solomon Islands, Tonga, & Vanuatu.
Also commercially cultivated in Hawai'i.
Common English: Indehiscent Amaranth, Pulasari Cinnamon, White Cinnamon
Austronesian tongues: Hawaiian: Maile Bahasa Indonesia:Palasan, Pulosari
NOTE: The research on Alyxia stellata is ongoing. We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. Please expect the above information to be revised as more information becomes available. If you have further information about this species or if you wish to submit a correction to this page, please feel free to contact us here
As of 2016, we have decided to majorly simplify the taxonomic structures of the species collection. Due to the numerous systems available, and many species being disputed and in a state of flux, we feel that most of our audience will be better served with a easier to understand condensed listing.
Print materials: Booth, F. E. M., and G. E. Wickens. Non-Timber Uses of Selected Arid Zone Trees and Shrubs in Africa. Rome: FAO Conservation Guide, 1988. Pennacchio, Marchello, and Lara Jefferson, and Kayri Havens. Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.