Closely related to, and probably hybridizes with, Shorea macrophylla[
The tengkawang nut, or more commonly known as the illipe nut. It is the fruit of a shorea species (dipterocarpaea family) grown by communities in Kalimantan. It's oil is processed into a butter used in cosmetic creams. Much of the tengkawang trees in hutan adat (community forests) have been logged and its timber sold in the past 5-10 years as the trees' timber is also known and much desired as meranti.
Photograph by: Wakx
Shorea stenoptera is a tree with a dense, conical to narrowly hemispherical crown of somewhat pendulous branches; it can grow up to 30 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole is often tapering with branches from fairly low down; it can be up to 70cm in diameter with relatively thin, low buttresses[
The seed of this species is a principal source of a vegetable fat called 'tangkawang' or 'Borneo tallow'; or sometimes 'Illipe', though this latter name is more properly applied to the fat obtained from the plant Madhuca longifolia[
The seed is usually harvested from the wild, but the tree is also occasionally planted as a crop in Borneo[
]. The timber is also valuable, and both products are commonly exported.
The tree has been listed as 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010)[
Southeast Asia - Malaysia, Indonesia (the tree is endemic to Borneo).
Locally common on humic soils on seldom flooded sandy alluvium, and in kerangas forest on more or less poorly drained podsols at low elevations[
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A plant of lowland areas in the moist tropics[
The plant is often found in the wild in Kerangas forest - a type of moist, heath forest found on acidic, sandy soils that are low in nutrients, especially nitrogen[
Yields of 1,138 kg/ha of dried kernels have been reported[
The tree does not start to bear fruit until it is 18 - 25 years old[
A remarkably variable species[
A vegetable fat obtained from the seed can be used as a substitute for cocoa butter[
An edible fat obtained from the seed is easily absorbed by the skin. It can be used to treat skin problems and is often used as a carrier to apply other substances to the skin[
The seeds of many species in this genus, including this species, yield an oil that has an unusually high melting point and is solid at room temperature[
]. Average yields range from 45 - 70% according to species[
]. The fat is somewhat similar to Cacao butter (obtained from Theobroma spp.) and can be used in a variety of ways, often combined with cacao butter. In addition to it being edible, it has medicinal uses and can be used in making soap, candles, polishes and cosmetics[
]. The ovoid seeds can be 5cm long and 3cm wide[
The wood is used[
]. The tree is a source of 'light red meranti' timber[
]. We do not have a specific description for the wood of this species, but a general description of light red meranti is as follows:-
The heartwood is light red to pink or pink-brown, with white resin streaks; it is clearly demarcated from the 5 - 8cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain interlocked with a ribbon-like aspect; the surface is lustrous. The wood is light in weight, soft, moderately durable, being resistant to dry wood borers, somewhat resistant to fungi and susceptible to termites. The wood seasons well with a slight risk of checking or distortion; once dry it is stable to moderately stable in service. The wood works well with normal tools, though the tools need to be kept sharp because it has a tendency towards woolliness; it generally finishes fairly well, though filling is recommended; screwing and nailing are good; gluing is correct. The wood is used for several purposes including interior and exterior panelling and joinery, light carpentry, boxes and crates, veneer etc[
We have no specific information for this species - the information below is a general guide for the genus.
Seed - best sown as soon as possible. It does not require pre-treatment, but it is recommended to soak the seed for 12 hours prior to sowing[
]. The seeds are sown in seedbeds, where they are covered with a mixture of sand and soil (1:1) or with a thin layer of sawdust[
]. Germination of fresh seeds is usually good and rapid. About two weeks after germination, when the seedlings are 5 - 6cm tall, they are potted up into individual containers about 15 x 23cm with good drainage holes at their base[
]. It is normally recommended to use a mixture of forest soil and sand (at a ratio of 3:1) as the potting medium in order to introduce the appropriate mycorrhiza to the roots. The seedlings are placed in
50 - 60% sunlight and watered twice daily[
Seedlings can be planted out when 30 - 40cm tall - harden the seedlings off in full sunlight for one month prior to planting[
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