Bassia hypoleuca Miq.
Bassia krantzii Hance
Dichopsis helferi C.B.Clarke
Dichopsis krantziana Pierre
Dichopsis obovata (Griff.) C.B.Clarke
Isonandra krantziana (Pierre) Pierre
Isonandra obovata Griff.
Palaquium celebicum Burck
Palaquium cinereum Burck
Palaquium cupreum Burck
Palaquium helferi (C.B.Clarke) Engl.
Palaquium krantzianum Pierre ex Lecomte
Palaquium minahassae Burck
Palaquium montgommerianum Burck
Palaquium obovatum King & Gamble
Palaquium oxleyanum Burck
Palaquium punctatum Fletcher
Palaquium theoideum Elmer
Palaquium obovatum is an evergreen tree growing 30 - 45 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 80 - 110cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for its latex, which is used locally and its wood, which is used locally and also traded. It used to be cultivated as a commercial source of gutta-percha[
Palaquium obovatum has a very wide range and is also found in protected areas. There is a continuing decline in the habitat quality and a suspected population decline that need to be monitored, but at present the plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2018)[
E. Asia - India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.
Lowland forest, especially in limestone forests[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
The tree is a source of a good quality gutta-percha[
]. Of low quality[
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 electrical 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 red wood is hard and not easily split[
]. It is little attacked by termites and is durable under water, so is used in boat planking and house building[
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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