Tugas (Molave)

The Molave tree (Vitex parviflora Juss.) belongs to the family Verbenaceae which is related to the five-leaved chaste tree or the Lagundi (Vitex negundo).  Some call this tree molawin and Tugas, which grows from medium to large trees and are drought-resistant. This tree grows indigenous in the Philippines and other Asian countries. Its timbers are used in multiple products mainly in furniture industry. Other common names Leban (Malaya), Kulim Papa (Sabah), Teen-nok (Thailand), Milla(India); Bitum (New Guinea), Gupasa (Indonesia).

Tugas (molave) tree

Tugas Lanhan

Another Specie of this tree is the miniature molave which is commonly known as tugas lanhan. Propagation or production of this tree can be by both sexual and asexual. Both seeds and part of the tree can be used. Also use of modified roots and stems are new ways to propagate. Plantlets and Offshoots are also used in addition to the propagation method, while many methods of propagation are being developed and known such as leaf and stem cutting, air layering or marcotting, budding and grafting.

In common practice molave is propagated by the use of its wildlings stem cutting by transplanting to maximize and encourage faster growth and area management.

In the Philippines, the Sarangani province has plentiful of molave tress that grows on limestone and sinks its roots into its gaps and cracks. There are two species that grows naturally in the Philippines, the tugas babae (babae in the Philippines means woman) and the tugas lanhan (lanhan means oily).

Tugas Babae

Tugas babae is propagated using stem cuttings; it has wider and longer leaves and has a straight trunk. While tugas lanhan has smaller leaves and twisted trunk. Tugas babae has dominated the northern part of the province while the tugas lanhan dominated the south. But due to the modernization of the lands, growing lanhan has shifted into making it as a miniaturized type of tree or what is commonly known as bonsai. Many of this specie have been uprooted and were made into miniaturized version. In the shift of the propagation of tugas lanhan it also opened a new way of propagation method called barefoot transplanting which is commonly used in coffee and forest tree wildings. This method of propagation is also effective on mango seedling and other fruit trees but does not work well with jackfruit.

Molave Tugas Babae

Seedlings of this tree that is ready for transplanting usually measures up to 50cm at the base, harvesting wildlings is easily done since they simply grows loose in the ground. It usually grows on low altitude places in forest called Molave forest across the region of islands. Currently recommended to be used in reforestation projects in the Philippines to promote shelter beds and recovery of forest areas.

Adult grows into a 120 ft tree with trunk as large as 6 to 7 feet in diameter. In unusual cases it can reach up to 35 m in height. Its wood varies from light yellow, yellow-brown, olive or pinkish gray and reddish brown. Timber’s texture comes with medium fine, straight grains, slightly crossed, dull and sometime lustrous, the timer produces no odor or taste, however the wood chips when submerge to water bleeds into yellow to yellow green. Its fruit when dried are separated into 24 nut lets, the number of seed per fruit ranges from 1 to 3.


Used mostly on construction, boatbuilding, furniture and cabinetwork, flooring, carving, joinery due to its durability. Considered to be one of the hardest of the hardwoods, in early time used in railroad tracks wagon making, bridges, cabinet, carabao yokes, cog-wheels, inserted cogs, saltwater piles, plane stocks, sugar mills, sculpture, and carving wooden tools, tool handles, novelties, agricultural implements, and high-grade construction where strength and durability are required.

Tugas (molave) furnitures

Other uses

Fish Poison is produced from its bark and fruits. Also used as antimicrobial and antifungal. Its leaves are used to prevent growth of fungi, to keep away termite and beetle attack but are not effective to marine borers. Wood and bark is used to cure poison and poisonous bites. Extracts also can be used to treat diarrhea and dropsy. In drought seasons its leaves can be used as food for carabao, cattle and goats.