Bassia erythrophylla King & Gamble
Madhuca erythrophylla is a tree growing up to around 20 metres tall. The bole can be around 30cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for its timber, which is traded under the names 'Bitis' and 'Nyatoh'[
Madhuca erythrophylla has a fairly large range in Malaysia and there are also specimens growing in protected areas. However, threats to its habitat have caused an almost 30% loss of tree cover within its range in the period from 2000 - 2017, and this habitat loss and resultant population decline would likely be much greater if calculated over three generation lengths (60-150 years). The plant is classified as 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2019)[
Southeast Asia - Malaysia (Peninsula and Sarawak), Indonesia (Samatra)
Mixed dipterocarp forest; at elevations up to 100 metres[
|Other Uses Rating
We do not have any more specific information on the wood of this species, but it belongs to a group of timbers collectively called 'Bitis'. The general description of bitis wood is as follows:-
The heartwood is red-brown to purple- or chocolate-red-brown; it is sharply demarcated from the yellow-brown to purple-grey-brown sapwood. The texture is moderately fine and even, with straight or shallowly interlocked grain. The wood is strong, heavy and durable. It is very difficult to treat with preservatives.
It is slightly difficult to difficult to resaw, easy to slightly difficult to crosscut. Planing is slightly difficult but the planed surface is smooth. Nailing property is rated as poor. The timber seasons slowly with moderate end-checking, splitting and surface-checking as the major sources of defects. Shrinkage is high. The timber is likely to be fairly difficult to dry. The wood is suitable for all forms of heavy construction, bridges, wharves, piers, piling, posts, railway sleepers, parquet flooring and heavy flooring.
Bitis is essentially a Peninsular Malaysian name. In Sabah and Sarawak, the timber is not differentiated from the lighter species of Madhuca and Palaquium, and they are all sold together as nyatoh.
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