Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 March 2008
Santalum austrocaledonicum Vieill. (Santalaceae) is a small tree endemic to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, well-known for the highly priced aromatic oil of its heartwood (Nasi & Ehrhart 1996). In New Caledonia, sandalwood grows on Loyalty Islands, the Isle of Pines and Grande-Terre (Bottin et al. 2006). The tree produces single-seeded fleshy drupes, which turn dark-red at maturity. Sandalwood seeds are dormant because of their hard coat and germinate only on physical scarification, or after removing the coat (Chauvin & Ehrhart 1998). In natural habitats, such seeds need further processing to relieve dormancy and promote germination, within a period where there is a good chance of successful seedling establishment (Murdoch & Ellis 2000).