Calophyllum inophyllum is a large evergreen tree, it has firm, dark green oval shiny leaves and produces small white flowers with a yellow center, that have a sweet aroma, reminiscent of lime. The fruit is apricot sized, yellow, and apple-flavored covering a large, thick-shelled nut with a pale yellow kernel. This nut, when freshly harvested, seems to have no oil. Once dried for about a month, it turns dark, chocolate-brown and develops a sticky rich oil.
The tree can grow inland, but favors the coastal areas. In fact, Polynesian natives prefer coastal Tamanu for therapeutic uses.
The oil is analgesic and is used for sciatica, shingles, neuritis, leprous neuritis and rheumatism. The pulverized seeds have been used to cure ulcers and bad wounds. Bark also has medicinal uses as an infusion or in other herbal remedies.
It tolerates varied kinds of soil, coastal sand, clay or even degraded soil.