Virola surinamensis

Virola surinamensis, known commonly as baboonwood, ucuuba, ucuhuba and chalviande,[1] is a species of flowering plant in the family Myristicaceae. It is found in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. It has also been naturalized in the Caribbean. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical swamps, and heavily degraded former forest. Although the species is listed as threatened due to habitat loss by the IUCN, it is a common tree species found throughout Central and South America.

Virola surinamensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Magnoliids
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Myristicaceae
Genus: Virola
V. surinamensis
Binomial name
Virola surinamensis
(Rol. ex Rottb.) Warb.[2]
  • Myristica fatua Sw.
  • Myristica fatua Houtt.
  • Myristica gracilis A.DC.
  • Myristica sebifera var. longifolia Lam.
  • Myristica surinamensis Rol. ex Rottb.
  • Palala gracilis (A.DC.) Kuntze
  • Palala surinamensis (Rol. ex Rottb.) Kuntze
  • Virola carinata var. gracilis Warb.
  • Virola glaziovii Warb.
  • Virola nobilis A.C. Sm.

Virola surinamensis grows 25–40 m (82–131 ft) tall. The leaves are 10–22 cm (3.9–8.7 in) long and 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) wide. The fruits are ellipsoidal to subglobular, measuring about 13–21 mm (0.51–0.83 in) long and 11–18 mm (0.43–0.71 in) in diameter.


The tree is harvested for its wood. It is also a source of traditional medicinal remedies for intestinal worms. The Amazon Indians Waiãpi living in the West of Amapá State of Brazil, treat malaria with an inhalation of vapor obtained from leaves of Viola surinamensis.[3]

Ucuhuba seed oil

Ucuhuba seed oil is the oil extracted from the seed. It contains 13% lauric acid, 69% myristic acid, 7% palmitic acid, and traces of oleic acid and linoleic acid.[4] Myristic and lauric acids comprised 91.3 mole % of the total fatty acids. Additional saturated fatty acids such as decanoic acid and stearic acid are minor components.[5]

Ucuhuba butter

Ucuhuba butter
Lauric acid % Weight16.0 – 20.0
Myristic acid % Weight72.0 – 76.0
Palmitic acid % Weight7.0 – 9.0
Saturated %100
Unsaturated %0


  1. Americas Regional Workshop (Conservation & Sustainable Management of Trees, Costa Rica, November 1996). 1998. Virola surinamensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1998. Downloaded on 08 October 2015.
  2. "Virola surinamensis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  3. Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 67, Issue 3, 30 November 1999, Pages 313-319
  4. Gunstone, F.D et al. (2007). The Lipid Handbook with CD-ROM, Boca Raton: CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-9688-3, p. 86
  5. Culp, T. W.; Harlow, R. D.; Litchfield, Carter; Reiser, Raymond (1965). "Analysis of triglycerides by consecutive chromatographic techniques. II. Ucuhuba kernel fat". Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. 42 (11): 974–978. doi:10.1007/BF02632458. PMID 5848772. S2CID 12202359.
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