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Useful Tropical Plants

Palaquium gutta

(Hook.) Baill.

Sapotaceae

+ Synonyms

Croixia gutta (Hook.) Baehni

Dichopsis borneensis (Burck) Fox

Dichopsis gutta (Hook.) Benth.

Dichopsis oblongifolia Burck

Dichopsis treubii (Burck) Fox

Isonandra acuminate Miq.

Isonandra gutta Hook.

Isonandra percha Hook.

Palaquium acuminatum Burck

Palaquium borneense Burck

Palaquium croixianum Pierre ex Dubard

Palaquium ellipsoideum Becc.

Palaquium formosum Pierre

Palaquium fulvosericeum Engl.

Palaquium gloegoerense Burck

Palaquium malaccense Pierre

Palaquium oblongifolium (Burck) Burck

Palaquium obscurum Burck

Palaquium optimum Becc.

Palaquium princeps Pierre

Palaquium selendit Burck

Palaquium tammrdak Becc.

Palaquium treubii Burck

Palaquium vrieseanum Burck

Common Name: Gutta-Percha

Palaquium gutta
Illustration of the leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds
Photograph by: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen
Public domain
Palaquium gutta Palaquium gutta Palaquium gutta

General Information

Gutta-percha is an evergreen tree usually growing up to 25 metres tall, but with some specimens up to 45 metres[
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.
,
334
Title
Flora of Peninsula Malaysia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tfbc.frim.gov.my
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
In the process of being assembled (15/07/09), it is currently a series of check sheets giving species name, brief description, habitat and high quality photos of the plants.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It has a columnar bole up to 60 cm in diameter, usually with small buttresses[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
This species is the main source of gutta-percha, a latex that was at one time widely employed as an insulator and for making a wide range of items. Its use has been largely replaced by synthetic materials, though it still has a range of applications and is cultivated in Indonesia[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The tree also supplies an oil and a useful timber that is sometimes traded.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

899
Title
Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak Vols 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Soepadmo E.; Saw L.G.; Chung R.C.K. (Editors)
Publisher
Forest Research Institute Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur.
Year
2002
ISBN
983-2181-27-5
Description
A flora of the woody plants of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo, often giving details of plant uses.

Range

Southeast Asia - Malaysia, Indonesia.

Habitat

Lowland and hill forest[
334
Title
Flora of Peninsula Malaysia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tfbc.frim.gov.my
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
In the process of being assembled (15/07/09), it is currently a series of check sheets giving species name, brief description, habitat and high quality photos of the plants.
]. Usually occurs scattered in lowland forest, but can be found at elevations up to 1,600 metres[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height20.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Gutta percha is a plant of mainly lowland areas in the moist tropics, with or without a dry season, though it can be found at elevations up to 1,600 metres[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature falls within the range 24 - 30°c, but can tolerate 17 - 38°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 - 3,000mm, tolerating 1,500 - 4,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Prefers a sunny position[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Grows best in a deep, fertile, well-drained soil[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Requires a loose and well aerated soil rich in organic matter[
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.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, but tolerates 5.5 - 8[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
In Peninsular Malaysia, trees have a mean annual diameter increment of 1.2 cm and attain a height of about 8 metres in 7 years, 17 metres in 23 years and a diameter of about 50 cm in 50 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.
].
Higher latex yields are obtained by tapping the upper portion of the trunk and branches than by tapping the lower part[
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.
]. Yields of gutta-percha per tree are also very variable. About 1.5 kg was reported to be a good average yield for destructive harvesting. The latex yield obtained by tapping living trees is much lower. The approximate gutta-percha yield per ha was 450 kg (2.3% from treated leaves) in 1920; a recent estimate from the company exploiting the Cipetir plantation was only 20 kg/ha annually, probably because of the extensive way of exploitation nowadays[
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.
].

Edible Uses

The seeds contain a fat that is sometimes used for cooking[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

This species is the main source of gutta-percha[
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.
]. Gutta-percha is a natural latex obtained from the sap of the tree. Allowing this fluid to evaporate and coagulate in the sun produces a hard, durable, non-brittle but non-elastic latex which can be made flexible again when heated to temperatures over 50°c, and then retains any form given while cooling. Prior to the advent of synthetic materials, gutta-percha had a wide range of uses - most particularly as an insulating material for electricity wiring and for underwater telegraph wires, a purpose for which it is very well suited since it is bio-inert and so is not attacked by marine plants or animals. Gutta-percha can be moulded into any shape and has been used to make items such as ornate furniture, pistol grips, acid-resistant receptacles and ‘mourning’ jewellery, where its dark colour was an advantage. It has been widely used as the core of golf balls and is still used in modern dentistry where its bio-inertness makes it ideal as a temporary filling for teeth and as a filling material inside tooth fillings[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It is used locally for fixing tools into their handles[
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.
]. Leaves of about 10 months of age are considered to be the source of the best quality latex[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

The seeds contain 58 - 63% fat used for the manufacture of soaps and candles[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

The timber is used for planks that are not exposed to the weather or ground; for panelling; and for the manufacture of fine furniture, decorative doors and veneers[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
We do not have any more specific information on the wood of this species, but it belongs to a group of timbers collectively called 'Nyatoh'[
701
Title
Asean Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://211.114.21.20/tropicalplant/index.jsp
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details, with photos, of many of the plants growing in the tropical forests of southeast Asia. Gives some details of plant uses along with a description of the plant and its range.
]. The general description of nyatoh wood is as follows:-
The heartwood is a dark pink to a red-brown; it is clearly demarcated from the 4 - 9cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain straight or interlocked, sometimes wavy. The wood is light in weight, soft to moderately hard; somewhat durable, being resistant to dry wood borers, moderately resistant to fungi but susceptible to termites. It seasons somewhat slowly, with a high risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is stable in service. There is a very variable content of silica according to the species, but in general the wood has a high blunting effect so stellite-tipped and tungsten-carbide tools are recommended; nailing and screwing are good, but require pre-boring; gluing is correct. The wood has a range of applications, including for highclass furniture and cabinet making, panelling, joinery, flooring, light carpentry, turnery, moulding and veneer[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe since it loses its viability within 2 - 8 weeks[
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.
]. Fresh seed has a germination rate of 75 - 85%[
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.
]. Seed should be sown in deep nursery beds, as the seedlings quickly develop a strong taproot[
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.
]. Young plants need shade and plenty of water, they grow quite rapidly and are ready for planting out when about 25 cm 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.
]. Mortality after planting out is usually high at up to 35%[
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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