Flora de Filipinas 1880
The Tamanu tree is indigenous to tropical Southeast Asia; it is found in Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, South India, Sri Lanka, and the Melanesian and Polynesian islands. The Tamanu tree blooms twice annually with fragrant, white flowers, which later yield clusters of yellow-skinned spherical fruit nut,and from this a sticky oil is cold-pressed to make a greenish yellow oil similar to olive oil. It takes 100 kilograms of Tamanu nuts, the amount that one tree produces annually, to yield just 5 kilograms of cold pressed oil, which puts the somewhat the high cost of this spectacular nut oil into perspective.
The Tahitian tamanu may also refer to the Calophyllum tacamahaca. In fact many references treat the tacamahaca as the same species as the inophyllum.
The Tongan tamanu is the Calophyllum vitiensis
Natives believed the Tamanu tree was a sacred gift of nature and that gods hid in its branches. It was their answer to skin protection from hot sun, high humidity and ocean wind.