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Useful Tropical Plants

Neobalanocarpus heimii

(King) P.S.Ashton

Dipterocarpaceae

+ Synonyms

Balanocarpus accuminatus Heim

Balanocarpus heimii King

Balanocarpus wrayi King

Pierrea penangiana Heim ex Brandis

Common Name: Chengal

Neobalanocarpus heimii
Drawing of the leaves, flowers and fruit
Photograph by: Flora Malesiana, vol. 9: p. 388, fig. 60 (1979-1983) [unsigned]
Creative Commons License
Neobalanocarpus heimii Neobalanocarpus heimii Neobalanocarpus heimii

General Information

Chengal is a large tree, that can sometimes reach over 60 metres tall[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. In the forest it will often have a straight and cylindrical bole that is unbranched for 30 metres or more, though sometimes it is irregular and low-branched[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The tree produces a very good quality, heavy duty, durable timber and has been widely exploited from the wild for local use and for trade[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. A good quality resin is obtained from the trunk.
Overexploitation of this species has led to it becoming rare or extinct in part of its range[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It is much rarer nowadays than it was early in the 20th Century and, because of its limited distribution in combination with its great commercial value, it might become endangered in the near future[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The tree is listed as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List(2009)[
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Southeast Asia - Thailand, Malaysia.

Habitat

Widespread in mixed dipterocarp forest below 1,000 metres, especially on well-drained friable soils on undulating land[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusVulnerable
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitTree
Height40.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the lowland, tropical rainforest, found naturally at elevations from sea level to 1,000 metres[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It is found in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 24 - 27°c and the mean annual rainfall is 2,000 - 4,000 mm[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Grows well on a wide range of soils from sandy granitic soils, red clay over shale and well-drained dark basic volcanic soils[303. Young plants need shade, and can survive in dense shade, but older plants need a sunny position[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. When very young, the seedlings are sensitive to drought and overexposure to light[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Growth is comparatively slow. It is estimated that chengal will attain a diameter of 64 cm in 75 years under optimal conditions[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. A tree planted in Kepong (Peninsular Malaysia) had a diameter of 48 cm after 40 years[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Chengal populations flower sporadically. Usually years with heavy flowering and fruiting occur at intervals of several years[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Flowering appears to take place over about 3 weeks and, as in most Dipterocarpaceae, the flowers are fragrant[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Pollination is by insects, most particularly honey bees[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The only method of dispersal of the heavy, wingless seeds of chengal might be by rolling down hill slopes or by means of animals[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Natural regeneration beneath parent trees is rarely abundant in virgin rain forest except on ridges in hill forest. The few seedlings usually encountered beneath a parent tree are capable of surviving for very long periods under dense shade, but light is required for further development[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Planting has been attempted in Peninsular Malaysia with indifferent results[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Insects attacked the seedlings badly[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Planting in open, unshaded conditions, in association with rubber, has failed[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Planting in secondary forest was carried out successfully[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Planted trees have been known to set fruit as early as the age of ten years[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

A good-quality resin, known as 'damar penak', can be obtained by wounding the tree. It has been used only on a limited scale in the manufacture of certain classes of varnish[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Dammar is a hard resin, obtained from various trees of Southeast Asia. Traditionally, it is used for purposes such as caulking boats and baskets, as an adhesive, a medicine, as a fuel for torches and sometimes in foods. Dammar has many commercial applications, though many of these uses are less important nowadays due to the advent of synthetic materials. Commercially, it is an ingredient of inks, lacquers, oil paints, varnishes etc, and is used as a glazing agent in foods[
891
Title
Gums, Resins and Latexes of Plant Origins.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products 6.
Author
Coppen J.J.W.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, United Nations; Rome
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103757-4
Description
A handbook published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, it provides good basic information on the sources and uses of the various gums, resins and latexes. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Harvesting of the resin commences when the bole is around 25cm in diameter (approx 20 years old). Triangular cuts (becoming circular with age) are arranged in vertical rows around the trunk. The cuts are several centimetres wide at first, but become enlarged at every tapping and eventually become holes of 15 - 20cm in depth and width. The average number of holes for a tree about 30 metres tall and 60 - 80cm in diameter is 9 - 11 in each of 4 - 5 vertical rows. For the higher holes, the tapper climbs the tree supported by a rattan belt and using the lower holes as footholds.
The exuded resin is allowed to dry on the tree before it is collected. The frequency with which the tree is visited to refreshen the cut varies from once a week to once a month, depending on how far the tree is from the village. Tapping can continue for 30 years[
891
Title
Gums, Resins and Latexes of Plant Origins.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products 6.
Author
Coppen J.J.W.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, United Nations; Rome
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103757-4
Description
A handbook published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, it provides good basic information on the sources and uses of the various gums, resins and latexes. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The best grades of the dammar are pale and transparent but it darkens when stored. It is a usable material for making spirit-varnish, normally with turpentine or naphtha as a solvent. The usual melting point of 90 - 100°c, and its hardness make it superior to other dammars of the same type. The defect of cloudiness in no way detracts from the utility of the varnish, which is to produce a lustrous coating[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Because collecting the dammar is fairly labour-intensive, an attempt to create a firm trade has failed[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]

The heartwood is yellow-green when freshly cut, weathering to dark tan-brown; it is distinctly demarcated from the 2 - 5cm wide band of pale yellow sapwood which has fine yellow ripple marks visible to the naked eye. The texture is medium; the grain interlocked to straight. The wood is heavy and hard; it is very durable, being resistant to dry wood borers and termites, and very resistant to fungi. It seasons slowly, with a high risk of distortion but only a slight risk of checking; once dry it is stable in service. It has a fairly high blunting effect and so stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; the presence of resin can be troublesome in machining; nailing and screwing are good, but require pre-boring; gluing is correct, but needs to be done with care due to the presence of resin. The wood is suitable for many heavy-duty purposes. It was the standard timber for durable heavy construction in Peninsular Malaysia and can be applied both indoors and outdoors. It is suitable for railway sleepers, piles, bridges, telegraph and power-line poles, vats, casks, tanks and frameworks, especially for wooden houses but even for e.g. Lorries and buses. Indoors it is used for flooring (medium and heavy duty) and joinery. It has been used in constructing wharves, ships and boats both in fresh and salt water conditions, with good results[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
848
Title
Tropix 7
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://tropix.cirad.fr/en
Publisher
CIRAD
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line guide to the timbers of 245 species of trees.
].
Despite its hardness the wood is used for carving, which is comparatively easy, especially when the wood is fresh[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Propagation

Seed - it only has a short period of viability and so should be sown as soon as possible. Sown in shaded conditions, germination is usually rapid, almost without any dormancy[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
]. Young trees need to be grown in some shade, but this needs to be reduced as they grow larger[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
The fruits are best stored at about 14 °C. After storing the fruits at this temperature for 50 days with a loss of 18.7% of the original moisture content and application of a fungicide, they showed no damage. Further reducing of the moisture content to just over half of that of fresh fruits did not kill them either[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

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