The malibago (Malubago in Bisayan) tree is known for its ability to protect river banks (or shorelines) from erosion: it can repair itself quite well, and is extremely resilient. This is a tree that is native to the Philippines, and has been used for stabilizing river banks for many years.


Paritium tiliaceum St. Hil.

Local names: Bago (Ilk., Bon., Ting.); balabago (S.L. Bis.); balibago (Tag., Bis.); bauan (Ibn.); dangliu (Tag.); danglog (Sul.); hanot (Iv.); laogo (Bag.); malabago (Tag., P. Bis., S.L. Bis., Lan.); lambagu (Sul.); majagua (Bik., C. Bis.); malabagu (Ilk.); malibago (Tag., P. Bis., Sul.); malubago (Tag., Bik.); marakapas (Ibn.); mayambago (Bik., C. Bis.); malabago (Mag.); ragindi (Bis.).

Malabago is found throughout the Philippines along the seashore, and beside tidal streams. It is occasionally planted inland for ornamental purposes. It is pantropic along the seashore.

This plant is a much-branched tree 4 to 12 meters in height. The leaves are suborbicular, 10 to 15 centimeters long, green, smooth, and shining on the upper surface – the lower one being grayish and hairy, with pointed tip, prominently heart-shaped base, and minutely toothed margins. The sepals are hairy, 5 in number, oblong, and about 2 centimeters long. The petals are yellow, dark purple at the base inside, orbicular-obovate or rounded, and about 5 centimeters in both length and width. The capsules are hairy, ovoid, 1.5 centimeters long, surrounded by the persistent sepals and, at the base, by the bracteolar cup, falsely 10-celled, and 5-valved.

When the fresh bark is macerated and placed in water, the water becomes mucilaginous. This water is prescribed in dysentery for which it is considered effective.

The bast fibers make a fairly strong rope. They are also used for making string, for typing cattle, and for making hog traps. Standley reports that in the Pacific Islands the bark is sometimes eaten when other food is lacking. The aborigines of Queensland value the roots as food.

Father Blanco says that a decoction is given to produce vomiting. Guerrero reports that the bark is used as an emetic. The flowers boiled in milk are employed for the cure of earache.

Burkill quotes Rumpf, who states that in Amboina an infusion of the roots is taken for fevers. Heyne says that a decoction is similarly taken in Java. Burkill and Haniff report a similar use in Pahang. Freise records that in Brazil an infusion of the roots are a good diuretic and febrifuge. Martinez and Standley tell us that in Mexico the roots and bark have aperitive, emollient, sudorific, and laxative properties. Nadkarni reports that the root is employed in the preparation of an embrocation. Crevost and Petelot state that a dose of 3 grams results in vomiting. Burkill adds that in Kedah the leaves and shoots are a substitute for the root.

Crevost and Petelot report that in Indo-China the leaves are used as a laxative and resolutive. Gimlette and Burkill state that in Java the young leaves are boiled in sugar and used for coughs and bronchitis. Burkill quotes Logan, who records that the leaves are rubbed over swellings by the Biduanda. Heyne adds that the leaves are applied to the hair in Java and elsewhere.


Correa says that the leaves and flowers are emollient, and a cure for ulcers. Soubeirant and Thiersant mention the use of the flowers in China for headache. Pittier reports that in Costa Rica the leaves are reputed to be emollient. Freise states that in Brazil an infusion of the seeds are used as emetic. The active principle is contained in the leathery coat. De Grosourdy reports that in the Antilles a decoction of the flowers and root-bark is used as a laxative, and as an emollient.