Toona ciliata (toon)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Toona ciliata M. Roem.
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Cedrela australis F. Muell.
- Cedrela toona Roxb. ex Willd.
- Cedrela velutina DC.
- Toona australis (F. Muell.) Harms
- Toona microcarpa (C. DC.) Harms
- Toona ternatensis (Miq.) Bahadur
International Common Names
- English: Australian red cedar; Indian cedar; Indian mahogany; moulmein cedar; red cedar
Local Common Names
- Brazil: cedro-australiano
- China: Chinese mahogany
- Indonesia/Java: suren kapar; suren mal
- Indonesia/Moluccas: kukoru
- Indonesia/Sulawesi: malapoga
- Malaysia/Sabah: ranggoh; surian limpaga
- Myanmar: mai yom horm; moulmein cedar; taung tama; taw thamgo; thit kador
- Philippines: danupra
- Puerto Rico: tun
- Thailand: yom hom
- TOOCI (Toona ciliata)
- red cedar
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
T. ciliata is a large forest tree in the mahogany family, native to Australia and Asia, but introduced elsewhere as a shade tree and for its fast-growing aspect and red timber. Wagner et al. (1999) report that T. ciliata has been extensively planted in Hawai‘i, and has become naturalised in disturbed habitats at altitudes of 25–610 m. T. ciliata is persistent once established (Weber, 2003). It is naturalised in southern Africa (Hyde et al. 2013).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Rutales
- Family: Meliaceae
- Genus: Toona
- Species: Toona ciliata
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The genus Toona (family Meliaceae) extends from eastern Pakistan through South-East Asia and southern China to eastern Australia (Edmonds, 1995). In the most recent revision of the genus, Edmonds suggested that Toona (family Meliaceae) only consists of four to five wide-ranging and variable species, namely T. sinensis (A. Juss.) M. Roem., T. fargesii A. Chev., T. sureni (Blume) Merr., T. ciliata M. Roem. and possibly T. calantas Merr. & Rolfe; the last species may be a large-fruited variant of T. ciliata (Edmonds, 1995). Toona is closely related to Cedrela, which has been repeatedly united with and separated from Toona since 1840. Cedrela can be differentiated from Toona by the columnar androgynophore, which is longer than the ovary, and by its seedlings which have entire leaflets (Edmonds, 1995). Species of Toona are extremely variable, especially in vegetative morphology, leading to an unstable taxonomic history. Edmonds (1995) considered Toona species to exhibit a phenomenal range of morphological variation even within and between trees in the same population, and that many of the features used by earlier workers to define taxa are only slight morphological variants. The Australian red cedar, Toona australis (F.Muell.) Harms, was placed within Edmonds’ (1995) concept of T. ciliata, and this status has been accepted by Australian botanical authorities. D. J. Mabberley, a world authority on the Meliaceae, supports Edmonds’ 1995 revision (J. Doran, CSIRO, Forestry and Forest Products, personal communication, 1998).
The ‘hairiness’ of the floral filaments and leaves feature prominently in the taxonomic treatment of T. ciliata. Edmonds (1995) noted that the species does exhibit considerable variation in filament pubescence. T. ciliata was first described from India where the filaments are characteristically glabrous and this variant extends eastwards to Hainan Island, southern China. Plants with glabrescent or sparsely pilose/villous filaments show a more restricted distribution within this Northern Hemisphere range. The taxon T. ciliata var. vestita was originally recognised for Australian plants with a very dense velvet-like covering of rather long hairs on the undersides of adult leaves (White, 1920), but was later rejected by Edmonds (1995).
DescriptionTop of page
T. ciliata is a tall, fast-growing, deciduous tree, typically reaching a height of around 20–30 m tall (Wagner et al., 1999), and with stem diameters above buttresses of 3 m, but reaching up to 40 m high (Hua and Edmonds, 2008). The crown is typically spreading and rounded in outline (Hua and Edmonds, 2008). Individuals have been reported up to 35.7 m tall in Hawaii (Little & Skolmen, 1989), and up to 54.5 m tall in New South Wales (Boland et al., 2006). The bark is grey to brown, fissured and flaky (Hua and Edmonds, 2008).
The leaves are pinnately compound, usually with 9–17 leaflets (Wagner et al., 1999). Each leaflet is lanceolate and 45–160 mm long, with the whole leaf being around 300–600 mm long (Wagner et al., 1999). The leaflets are hairless or sparsely hairy (Wagner et al., 1999).
The flowers of Toona are borne in large, pendent, densely-branched panicles (Hua and Edmonds, 2008). There are separate male and female flowers, although vestiges of the non-functional sex are usually present (Hua and Edmonds, 2008). The flowers are pentamerous and sweetly scented (Hua and Edmonds, 2008), with 1-mm-long sepals surmounted by white petals, each 5–6 mm long, with ciliate margins (Wagner et al., 1999).
The fruits of T. ciliata are dry, oblong capsules with five valves and thin walls, typically 20–30 × 8–12 mm (Boland et al., 2006). There are around 5 seeds per loculus, each 10–20 × 3–5 mm, light brown and membraneously winged at one or both ends (depending on the part of the columella to which it was attached) (Boland et al., 2006). One wing of this samara is typically 5–15 mm long, and the other half that length (Wagner et al., 1999).
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
T. ciliata is the most wide-ranging of the four Toona species (Edmonds, 1995; Hua and Edmonds, 2008). It occurs naturally across much of South and Southeast Asia – from Pakistan and western China to Indonesia and Malaysia – and across parts of Oceania, including Australia and islands in the western Pacific Ocean (Hua and Edmonds, 2008). In China, it grows at altitudes of 400–2800 m (Hua and Edmonds, 2008).
On the Indian subcontinent, T. ciliata occurs from eastern Pakistan to Bangladesh, including the tropical parts of the sub-Himalayan tract and the Western Ghats in India. In Papua New Guinea, T. ciliata occurs in Central and Morobe provinces on the island of New Guinea, as well as on the island of New Britain (Conn and Damas, 2006 onwards).
T. ciliata has a patchy natural distribution within China, and low natural regeneration and over-exploitation have resulted in continual decline and the species being now classified as an endangered species (Li et al., 2015).
In Australia, T. ciliata occurs discontinuously along the east coast, chiefly between Ulladulla, New South Wales, and Gympie, Queensland, although disjunct populations occur further north (Boland et al., 2006).
T. ciliata has been introduced to parts of Africa, the Americas and the Pacific Ocean as a shade and timber tree.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Feb 2022
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|Congo, Democratic Republic of the||Present||Introduced|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Present|
|Indonesia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|United States||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Australia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-New South Wales||Present||Native|
|Federated States of Micronesia||Present||Introduced|
|Papua New Guinea||Present||Native|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
T. ciliata has been introduced to tropical Africa, tropical parts of Central America and South America, the Seychelles and a number of islands in the Pacific Ocean. T. ciliata is invasive in Tonga, although few details are available. It is considered invasive in the South African provinces of Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo (Invasive Species South Africa, 2012).
T. ciliata is naturalised on all the Hawaiian high islands (Wagner et al., 2012). It was introduced in 1918 for forestry plantations, using stock from Australia (Little and Skolmen, 1989). From 1959 to 1973, the Hawaii Division of Forestry planted about 5000 acres of T. ciliata using seed of Australian origin (Walters and Wick, 1973). In 1989, there were reported to be 2300 acres (c. 930 ha) of T. ciliata, with “the best stand” being that planted in 1924 at Round Top Drive, Honolulu (Little and Skolmen, 1989).
Because of its high-quality timber, the species has been trialled in many countries. It has been extensively tested in Hawaii and Central/South America (Argentina and Costa Rica), Sri Lanka and Africa (Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania). The species has been grown on small South Pacific oceanic islands such as Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and the Solomon Islands (Streets, 1962). T. ciliata has performed well in areas free of the cedar tip moth, Hypsipyla robusta. The species is not attacked by H. grandifolia (of South American origin) and grows successfully in areas where this moth occurs.
IntroductionsTop of page
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
T. ciliata spreads by seed dispersal (Invasive Species South Africa, 2012). Because its seeds are winged samaras, it has great capacity to spread over short and medium distances by wind-dispersal (anemochory). It has shown a propensity to spread in several different countries, and is likely to continue to do so.
HabitatTop of page
In the western sub-Himalayan tract of India, T. ciliata is found chiefly in moist localities, in sheltered ravines, along streams and even in swamp forest (Troup, 1921), while in the Western Ghats, it is found mostly in wet evergreen forests; there are also scattered occurrences in moist deciduous forests (Rai, 1985).
In India, the climate of the natural habitat comprises rainfall from 1100–4000 mm per year and temperatures range from about 0–35°C (Streets, 1962). The species will tolerate some frosts, but is somewhat sensitive to drought (Streets, 1962).
In China, it occurs at alttiudes of 700–1600 m, typically on open hillsides and more rarely in ravines and forested areas (Hua and Edmonds, 2008). In Australia, it occurs from sea level to 1100 m, in areas with an annual rainfall of 1200–3800 mm, concentrated in the summer (Boland et al., 2006). The mean maximum temperature of the hottest month is 26–31°C and the mean minimum of the coldest month 5–10°C, with trees at higher altitudes experiencing occasional frosts (Boland et al., 2006).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Productive/non-natural|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
In the cooler parts of its range, the tree is usually leafless during the winter, and in spring the newly emerging leaves are bright red and distinctive in the forest canopy, before becoming bronze-tipped and finally green (Boland et al., 2006). In Australia, the species flowers from September to December (Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, 2013). Rai (1985) reports that the fruit maturation period in India is March–April, while Troup (1921) reports a period of May–June for northern India. In China, flowering occurs from March to June in southwest China and from May to June elsewhere (Li et al. 2015).
Trees in open situations produce seed after 6–8 years (Fenton et al., 1977).
Where planted as an exotic, T. ciliata performs well on fertile soils at the bottom of slopes. In the Cook Islands, the species grows well on well drained and slightly alkaline soils, but poorly on compact clay or poor sands (Ehrhart, 1992). It has been successfully established in Zambia on light loams and deeper soils near streams (Streets, 1962).
T. ciliata is light-demanding and shade-intolerant, growing in forest gaps, including riparian habitats. It is an early-successional pioneer that spreads rapidly in cleared areas or in disturbed forests (Weber, 2003).
In India, the climate of the natural habitat comprises rainfall from 1100–4000 mm per year and temperatures range from about 0–35°C (Streets, 1962). The species will tolerate some frosts, but is somewhat sensitive to drought (Streets, 1962).
When planted as an exotic, the climatic conditions may differ a little from those experienced within its natural range. In Malawi, the species grows from 450 m to 1500 m with rainfalls of 900–1500 mm concentrated in November–March with mist and drizzle in some areas during the rest of the year. In Malawi, the temperature ranges from about 3°C to 35°C (Streets, 1962).
In Australia, other trees commonly associated with T. ciliata include the booyongs Argyrodendron trifoliolatum and A. actinophyllum, the carabeens Geissois benthamiana and Sloanea woollsii, sassafras (Doryphora sassafras) and, more rarely, the hoop pine or Queensland pine, Araucaria cunninghamii (Boland et al., 2006).
T. ciliata occurs with Tetrameles and Stereospermum in Assam; other common associate tree species there include Albizia procera, Amoora wallichii, Artocarpus chaplasha and Pterygota alata (Champion and Seth, 1968).
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-2||20|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||17||28|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||26||41|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||5||15|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||5||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||1200||5000||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
- seasonally waterlogged
Natural enemiesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Environmental ImpactTop of page
T. ciliata out-competes indigenous species in South Africa, particularly in forested areas and along river banks; it is covered by that nation’s Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act 2002, and has been proposed for listing under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Invasive Species South Africa, 2012).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Highly mobile locally
- Long lived
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
UsesTop of page
T. ciliata is mostly grown for its versatile timber, which is used for building houses and ships, and for high-value goods such as furniture, musical instruments, carvings, and numerous other uses (Lemmens, 2008). The flowers yield a reddish dyestuff, while the bark is used to tan leather or to produce string (Lemmens, 2008). Traditional medicine makes use of various parts of the plant, chiefly the bark and leaves (Lemmens, 2008). The leaves are widely used as an animal fodder in India (Edmonds, 1993). T. ciliata is commonly cultivated as an avenue tree in India (Edmonds, 1995) and as an ornamental and wayside tree throughout much of tropical Africa and Asia (Fenton et al., 1977).
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Shade and shelter
- Carved material
- Miscellaneous materials
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
Wood ProductsTop of page
Sawn or hewn building timbers
- Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
- For light construction
- Musical instruments
- Wood carvings
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
T. ciliata closely resembles the other four species of Toona, and both fruits and flowers are required for a certain identification (Hua and Edmonds, 2008). This is ameliorated by the fact that T. ciliata is the only species of Toona throughout most of its range (Hua and Edmonds, 2008). T. sinensis differs from it in having toothed leaflets, and in that its seeds are only winged at one end (Lemmens, 2008).
T. ciliata bears a resemblance to Cedrela odorata, to which it is closely related, and the two are sometimes confounded with each other; C. odorata has a longer floral column than T. ciliata, and its seedlings have entire leaflets (Lemmens, 2008).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Seedlings and small trees can be dug out. Larger trees can be cut and treated with herbicide.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
Weber (2003) concluded that little is known about the ecology of T. ciliata as an invasive species.
ReferencesTop of page
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Witt A, Luke Q, 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa. [ed. by Witt A, Luke Q]. Wallingford, UK: CABI. vi + 601 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158959 DOI:10.1079/9781786392145.0000
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24/06/13 Updated by:
Christopher Dixon, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
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