Croixia maingayi (C.B.Clarke) Baehni
Dichopsis maingayi C.B.Clarke
Looking into the canopy of a tree growing in Bukit Nanas forest reserve, Kuala Lumpur
Photograph by: Patrice78500
Palaquium maingayi is an evergreen tree growing up to 30 metres tall[
]. The bole is straight and cylindrical.
The tree is harvested from the wild for its timber and a latex that is a source of gutta-percha. The timber is used locally and also traded under the name 'Nyatoh'[
Palaquium maingayi has a wide range and some collections have been made in protected areas. A previous assessment from 1998 considered this species Least Concern but since then there has been over 22% tree cover loss within ts range from 2000 - 2016, causing a suspected population decline. The population decline would most likely be greater if calculated over three generation lengths (60-150 years) rather than a 16 year period. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Southeast Asia - western Thailand, Malaysia.
Lowland and hill forests, at elevations up to 1,100 metres[
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The tree is a source of a good quality gutta-percha[
]. Of moderate quality[
]. It is used as an adulterant of better class gutta-percha[
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[
]. It is used locally for fixing tools into their handles[
The heavy, dark brown wood is used for house construction, canoes, furniture, doors, veneer, panelling, flooring, tools and musical instruments[
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'[
]. 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 lighter-coloured sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain straight or interlocked, sometimes wavy. The wood is light in weight, soft to moderately hard; strong, 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 high class furniture and cabinet making, solid doors, panelling, joinery, parquet flooring, boat decking, light carpentry, turnery, moulding and veneer[
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