"The Rough Forest Cempaka/Forest Cempaka or Magnolia vrieseana type has been declared endemic with its natural distribution only being limited to the islands of Sulawesi and Maluku, so it is often said that this plant is the identity plant of West Sulawesi."
Cempaka or better known as kembang kantil or semulun in Indonesia is scientifically called Magnolia champaca in Latin. This plant is internationally known in English as champak, joy perfume tree and fragrant Himalayan champaca.
This plant originates from South Asia or India in particular and then spread to many countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and southeastern China.
As for its distribution in Indonesia, this plant can be found on the islands of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan. The Rough Forest Cempaka/Forest Cempaka or Magnolia vrieseana type has been declared endemic with its natural distribution only being limited to the islands of Sulawesi and Maluku, so it is often said that this plant is the identity plant of West Sulawesi (Rahmadi, 2015).
Growth and Form Description
Champak is a green plant with a height that can reach up to 10 to 20 meters. The leaves are green with an average size of 10 cm x 5 cm. Can grow in tropical and subtropical climates as well as in warm areas.
This plant has a distinctive aroma that emerges from its flowers. In Indonesia, champak can generally be recognized by the color of its flowers which are divided into white, red, purple, and yellow.
Efficacy and usability
Champak trees are used to reforest badly eroded areas in Java. The rough forest champak type, especially the stem wood, is known to have excellent quality and is sturdy for use as a building material with wood carved by indigenous peoples in traditional houses of the Toraja and Minahasa tribes as well as as a material for making religious statues (Prameswari, Widyati, & Andadari, 2021 ). Champak in general also has a function in the environment as shade for coffee and nitrogen fixing. Other uses include animal feed, firewood, building/carpentry wood with pruning residues used as fuel (The Shade Catalog, 2022).
The flowers produce an essential oil known as champa or champaca oil. The yellow, white, red, and purple flower petals can be used as dyes.
For medical purposes, the bark of the champak tree is used as a fever-reducing medicine with a decoction that can be given to women after giving birth, the flowers are used as a medicine for leprosy, the leaves are used to treat colic, the seeds are used for chapped skin and the fatty oil that has been extracted from the seeds shows anti-bacterial properties against Bacillus pumilus, B. Subtilis, Salmonella typhosa, S. Paratyphi, Micrococcus pyogenes var. Albus and Staphylococcus aureus (Useful Tropical Plants, 2022).