Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Sapium spp. - Old World species (Ludai, ebusok)

Nomenclature etc. EUPHORBIACEAE. Asien: Sapium baccatum, S. discolor, S. indicum, S. luzonicum, etc.; Afrika: S. armatum, S. ellipticum, etc. Trade and local names: Asien: ludai (MY); lelun (MM); bedi, ludahi (ID); balakat-sudat (PH); adamsali, larrna (IN). Afrika: ebusok (CM); asep (GH); musasa (TZ). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka to Indomalesia, or tropical Africa.

General. Heartwood basically white or grey, without streaks. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Density 0.25–0.43 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows or radial rows of 4 or more. Average tangential vessel diameter 150–280 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 2–10. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 10–14 µm. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thin-walled, or of medium wall thickness. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded. Axial parenchyma bands not marginal (or seemingly marginal), reticulate, fine, up to three cells wide. Axial parenchyma apotracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 3–4.

Rays. Rays 12–20 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate. Height of large rays commonly 500 to 1000 µm, or commonly over 1000 µm. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells or with more than 4 marginal rows of upright or square cells. Some rays occasionally with biseriate central portion.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes present, or absent. Latex tubes generally rare; in some Asian species forming large, macroscopically visible radial slits (latex traces).

Mineral inclusions. Crystals not observed. Silica present, as grains or in aggregates, in rays cells. Silica mostly as small particles in asian species, as large aggregates often filling the entire cell lumen in african species.

Illustrations. • Transverse section I. Sapium luzonicum. • Transverse section II. Sapium sp. (Africa). • Tangential section I. Sapium luzonicum. • Tangential section II. Sapium sp. (Africa). Black dots in rays cells are large silica agglomerates (see last illustration of this item). • Radial section I. Sapium luzonicum. Small dark dots are small silica particles in ray cells. • Radial section II. Sapium sp. (Africa). • Silica. Sapium sp. (Africa). Large silica agglomerates in ray cells.

The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009.’.