Description from Flora of China
Cedrela toona Roxburgh ex Rottler, Ges. Naturf. Freunde Berlin Neue Schriften 4: 198. 1803; C. australis R. Mudie, nom. superfl. (included type of C. toona); C. australis F. Mueller (1858), not R. Mudie (1829); C. kingii C. Candolle; C. kingii var. birmanica C. Candolle; C. microcarpa C. Candolle; C. mollis Handel-Mazzetti; C. toona var. gamblei C. Candolle; C. toona var. haslettii Haines; C. toona var. latifolia Miquel ex C. Candolle; C. toona var. multijuga Haines; C. toona var. nepalensis C. Candolle; C. toona var. parviflora Bentham; C. toona var. puberula C. Candolle; C. toona var. pubescens Franchet; C. toona var. pubinervis C. Candolle; C. toona var. stracheyi C. Candolle; C. toona var. sublaxiflora C. Candolle; C. toona var. talbotii C. Candolle; C. toona var. vestita C. T. White; C. toona var. yunnanensis C. Candolle; Surenus australis Kuntze; S. microcarpa (C. Candolle) Kuntze; S. toona (Roxburgh ex Rottler) Kuntze; Toona australis (Kuntze) Harms; T. ciliata var. pubescens (Franchet) Handel-Mazzetti; T. ciliata var. sublaxiflora (C. Candolle) C. Y. Wu; T. ciliata var. vestita (C. T. White) Harms; T. ciliata var. yunnanensis (C. Candolle) Harms; T. febrifuga (Blume) M. Roemer var. cochinchinensis Pierre; T. febrifuga var. griffithiana Pierre; T. febrifuga var. ternatensis Pierre; T. kingii (C. Candolle) Harms; T. microcarpa (C. Candolle) Harms; T. mollis (Handel-Mazzetti) A. Chevalier; T. sureni (Blume) Merrill var. cochinchinensis (Pierre) Bahadur; T. sureni var. pubescens (Franchet) Chun.
Trees, medium sized to 30 m tall; trunk to 22 m tall, to 1.5 m d.b.h., with or without buttresses (to 3.5 m); crown usually rounded and spreading, occasionally dense. Bark grayish white to brown, usually fissured and flaking; inner bark brown to reddish, fibrous; sap-wood white, pink, or red, smelling strongly of cedar when cut. Twigs pilose to glabrescent, inconspicuously lenticellate with small lenticels. Leaves (15-)26-69 cm; petiole 6-11 cm, glabrous or pilose; rachis often reddish, glabrous or sparsely pilose, occasionally velutinous; leaflets usually (5-)9-15 pairs; petiolules 2-10(-14) mm, glabrescent, rarely pilose to velutinous; leaflet blades lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, (7-)9-12.8(-16) × (2.2-)3.2-5(-6) cm, glabrescent with trichomes on apical midvein or absent or sparse, occasionally moderately pilose, base usually asymmetric, margin entire, apex acute to acuminate. Inflorescences to 55 cm, pendent; rachis pilose to pilose-villous with short to long spreading or appressed trichomes. Flowers 3.5-5(-6) mm, sweetly scented. Pedicel 0.5-1 mm, usually pilose to occasionally villous. Calyx 0.7-1.3 mm, outside usually glabrescent, lobes imbricate; sepals spatulate, (0.4-)0.7-1 × (0.5-)0.7-1.3 mm, margins shortly ciliate. Petals white to creamy white, 3.5-5.8 × 1.3-3.1 mm, usually glabrescent, occasionally outside pilose, margin shortly ciliate. Androgynophore (1.7-)3-4.9(-5.5) mm; filaments 1.2-2.5 mm (male flowers), 0.7-1.8 mm (female flowers), glabrous to pilose/villous; anthers of male flowers 0.6-1.1 × 0.4-0.9 mm, apex usually apiculate, often with long appendage; antherodes of female flowers usually sagittate, 0.5-0.9 × 0.3-0.6 mm, often with a long apiculate appendage. Disk reddish orange, 1.2-2.5 mm in diam., densely pilose. Ovary 1.2-1.8 mm in diam., moderately pilose, with to 8 ovules per locule; style 1.2-3 × 0.2-0.4 mm (male), 0.3-1.5 × 0.3-0.5 mm (female), glabrous; stylehead 0.7-1.3 mm in diam. Capsule 1.5-2(-2.5) cm; columella 1.5-2(-2.4) × 0.5-0.7(-1) cm, concave with apical scarring; valves red to reddish brown, smooth to lenticellate with 0.1-0.5 mm in diam. scattered lenticels. Seeds 1.1-1.9 cm × 2.5-4(-5.8) mm, winged at both ends; wings unequal, apex narrowly obtuse; seed body 5-7 × 1.2-3 mm. Fl. Jan-Jun, fr. Feb-Nov.
This species is the most widely distributed Toona. It is commonly cultivated as an avenue tree in India. The timber is highly valued, especially in India and Australia, and is frequently used by carpenters in Yunnan. Worldwide, the wood of this species is used in house and boat construction, for high-grade furniture and carvings, and to make tea-chests, oil casks, pencils, and musical instruments. The flowers are used as a source of red and yellow dyes for silk and as an emmenagogue. The leaves and young shoots are lopped for cattle fodder in India. Various parts are used medicinally throughout its geographical range; for example, the bark is a powerful astringent, a tonic, and an antiperiodic, and it is used to treat dysentery and wounds.
Toona ciliata exhibits considerable variation in both vegetative and filament pubescence. It was first described from India, where it is the dominant Toona and is characterized by glabrous filaments. This variant extends eastward to Hainan. Showing a more restricted distribution within this range are plants with glabrescent or sparsely pilose/villous filaments, while extending as far as E Australia are plants with conspicuously villous filaments. Whether the eastern variants should be recognized infraspecifically has yet to be determined. Typical T. ciliata is characterized throughout its range by glabrescent leaflets, but many plants, while exhibiting the distinguishing floral characters given in the key, often display leaf pubescence varying from glabrescent to velutinous, sometimes on the same plant. Flowering and fruiting material are vital for the correct identification of species in this genus.
Common to abundant in shade or open habitats: valleys, ravines, woods, thickets, forests, hillsides, mountaintops, slopes, near rivers and streams especially throughout Yunnan; 400-2800 m. Guangdong, Hainan, Sichuan, Yunnan [Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam; E Australia, W Pacific islands].