It grows in warm temperatures in wet or moderate conditions. It is not suited to high elevations, cool areas, or very dry conditions. Mean annual rainfall required is 1000 mm with summer, winter, or uniform rainfall patterns. Dry season duration (consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall) is 4–5 months. Mean annual temperature of 18–33°C is preferred with mean maximum temperature of hottest month of 22–37°C and mean minimum temperature of coldest month of 12–17°C.
It tolerates a wide range of soils. It grows best in sandy well drained soils in coastal areas but will tolerate clays, calcareous soils, and rocky soils. The soil is generally dry at the surface, but the water table is usually only a few decimetres down, although the water it taps is often brackish. It is also found higher up the rivers along river margins. The tree demands light and prefers full sun, and only less shade is tolerated. It is sensitive to frost and fire. It tolerates occasional waterlogging in coastal areas.
In Tamil Nadu along the east coast ie. Cuddalore, Chennai, Nagai districts the fruit collection period is from July to September while it is during October to December in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts. In Kerala along West coast mature fruits can be collected from July to September.
Pick fruits at appropriate maturity ie. pale yellow pericarp stage by plucking from the branches. Cut open the pericarp to release the seeds for raising nursery. Fresh nuts germinate after 60 days giving 95% germination when sown in mother bed under green shade net. Regular watering is essential. 30 days after germination the seedlings can be transplanted to polybags of size 12 x 25 cm. The seedlings need to be hardened for atleast tree months before field planting.
For plantation the spacing is usually 4 m x 4 m. Pit size is 2 ' x 2 ' x2 '. Watering until two years is essential. Drip irrigation is preferable. Regular weeding is necessary until the crop is established especially once in six months interval. After three months of planting the soil need to enriched with 250 g neem cake / plant or 500 g farm yard manure. This can be repeated at one year interval. If termite problem exists in the soil, the plants can be provided with soil drenching of 500 ml (0.2%) chloripyriphos. At the end of two years pruning can be done so as to increase branching and thereby higher fruit yield.
It is one of the important Tree Based Oilseeds species with an annual average nut yield of 12 kg/ tree ( 5 year old) and 100 kg in 20 year old tree. Fruiting starts at 4-5 yrs. A five year old tree yields 3 kg kernel, ie.2.1L oil per tree. A 5 year old plantation with just 35 trees can yield 75 L oil, provided superior clones are planted. Less than 0.25 acres is sufficient for annual requirement of 75L oil. In 1 acre at 4x4 m 250 trees can be accommodated.
If kernel collection and processing done by a farmer:
Cost price of crude oil as per market rate : Rs.55/L
Cost of 1 kg oilcake : Rs.20
Annual income from one acre: Rs.47 x 750 = Rs.35250/- in the fifth year. The income gradually increases as the tree matures.
Calophyllum inophyllum is known as Punnai in Tamil. It belongs to the Clusiaceae family. It is a potential species valued for its seed oil. It is a good alternative to Casuarina as a beach windbreak, for soil stabilization and to control soil erosion. It is amenable for agroforestry and is also intercropped with Acacia spp.
Its kernel yields 50-70% oil which is directly being used as fuel in diesel engines without undergoing the trans-esterification process. Transesterified oil can also be used as biodiesel. Seed oil also called as Tamanu oil has medicinal uses in treating skin diseases and fetches high price ($4-$40/ 30 ml) in international market. With recently discovered plant properties like anti-HIV and anti-cancer active compounds, Calophyllum inophyllum can be placed amongst the most important multipurpose trees.The timber of this species referred to a ‘Bintagor’ is of superior quality and is popularly traded in South-East Asian countries. It has demand for carving, furniture making, boat building and flooring. It is a durable multi-purpose timber (density 560-900kg/m³).