Lukwej (Jijo) (Calophyllum inophyllum - Guttiferae)

Description: This large tree has very hard wood. It produces simple, glossy leaves with many parallel, lateral veins. The fragrant flowers are white with orange stamens (male sex organs) in the center. The fruit is about 2.5 cm(1 in) wide, round, and hard like golf balls.

Distribution: Some Marshallese believe lukwej grew on the islands before the German period. It may have arrived without human help from other parts of the Pacific, or it may have been introduced in the early historic period.

Uses: Planting lukwej trees for the purpose of providing shade and shelter was systematically encouraged during German times. They still often planted for shade and timber along settled lagoon shores. The hard, durable wood of lukwej provides excellent timber that is used in the construction of canoes and other types of boats. It is also used to make coconut husking sticks; frames for coconut (ni) and pandanus (bōb) graters; pounders for taro (kōtak, Iaraj), banana (keeprañ, pinana), and breadfruit (); house frames; pig and chicken pens; and in the fabrication of many types of handicrafts, including chairs, tables, and ukuleles. It is also an important firewood. The fragrant lukwej flowers are used in ut and marmar (garlands, wreaths), as well as being added, for its scent, to coconut oil. The hard, round fruits are sometimes used in games or as toys by children. Leaves of the tree are used for a medicinal eye wash. They are mixed in a bucket of cold water. Each morning and evening for three days the afflicted person puts his or her face under the water in the bucket and opens his eyes. Some people believe that ghosts (timoņ or oņeņak) live under lukwej trees.

In modern days, the hard fruit os cracked open and the seed inside is pressed for mediinal oil which is good for the skin.

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