(Litsea garciae}

A tree of engkala

Family: Lauraceae

Synonyms: Listea sebifera

Common names: Bagnolo, wuru lilin,

Engkala is believed to have originated in the Philippines though some botanists are of the opinion that it is a naïve of Borneo.  It grows wild in forests there in low and medium altitudes.

Engkala fruits displayed for sale in Malaysia

            Besides Philippines, engkala is cultivated in the mountain region of Java in Indonesia.  This fruit is also grown to a smaller extent in Peninsular Malaysia.


A medium to large tree attaining a height from 10-20 m, and a trunk diameter of 40-50 cm.

Engkala flowers

            Leaves ovate-oblong-lanceolate, 12-50 cm long, 15-15 cm broad.

            Fruit a depressed-globose berry, 2.5-4.5 cm in diameter, pink to purple, edible  having an excellent delicate avocado like flavour.

Leaves of an engkala tree


The fruits are eaten.  They taste some what like avocado.  The fruit can be used in the same way as the avocado The fruits are also steamed with rice.

Engkala fruits

            A stearic oil extracted from the seeds.  This oil was commonly used during earlier days for making soaps and candles.

            The wood is used for construction.


Engkala is propagated by seed.  It does not require and specialized cultivation technique and is planted and maintained like other tropical trees. 

            Engkala fruits are little known outside Indonesia and Philippines.  These avocado flavoured fruits are invariably liked by people who happen to eat them for the first time.  Engkala, therefore, deserves to be tried outside South East Asia.