Few writers recommend the santol as a fruit worthy of extensive cultivation. It is known chiefly in the Malayan region, where it is indigenous. The tree is medium sized, attaining to 50 feet in height. The leaves are trifoliate with elliptic to oblong-ovate, acuminate leaflets 4 to 6 inches in length. The greenish flowers are borne in axillary panicles and are followed by globose or oblate fruits about 2 inches in diameter, brownish yellow and velvety on the surface, with a thick tough rind inclosing five segments of whitish translucent pulp which adheres to the large seeds.
"The santol," writes P. J. Wester, "is one of the most widely distributed fruits in the Philippines. The tree is hardy, of vigorous and rapid growth, and succeeds well even where the dry season is prolonged. The fruit is produced in great abundance, in fact in such profusion that large quantities annually rot on the ground during the ripening season, which extends principally from July to October. It should be stated that the waste of the fruit is due principally to its poor quality; in fact, from the European point of view most of the santols are barely edible. However, now and then trees are found whose fruit is of most excellent flavor, and when a fruit shall have been found that also has the feature of being seedless or semi-seedless, like the mangosteen, it is believed the now practically unknown santol will become one of the most popular of the tropical fruits."
Sandoricum indicum, Cav., is a botanical synonym.