Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Altingia excelsa Noroña (Rasamala)

Nomenclature etc. HAMAMELIDACEAE. Trade and local names: rasamala, mala, tulasan, mandung (ID); nantayok (MM); sop (LA); sop, hom, satu (TH). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia to Indomalesia.

General. Growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically brown to red, without streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Density 0.6–0.85 g/cm³.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, exclusively solitary. Average tangential vessel diameter 60–110 µm; diameter of vessel lumina: medium. Average number of vessels/mm² 26–48; vessels per square millimetre moderately numerous to numerous. Perforation plates scalariform, with 15–30 bars. Intervessel pits scalariform. Scalariform intervessel pits restricted to overlapping vessel tails. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular or horizontal to vertical, mostly restricted to marginal rows. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness to very thick-walled. Average fibre length 1100–2700 µm. Average fibre length medium to long. Fibre pits common in both radial and tangential walls, distinctly bordered. Fibres non-septate. Fibre pits very large and conspicuous, up to 10 µm in diameter.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present. Axial parenchyma apotracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse, or diffuse-in-aggregates. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–6.

Rays. Rays 8–11 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–4(–5) cells wide, narrow (2–3 seriate) to of medium width (3–5 seriate). Height of large rays 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.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells. Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square and procumbent. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Crystal containing cells of normal size, or enlarged (idioblasts). Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Altingia excelsa. Inset: Transverse section, blowup: Note tyloses in vessels and very thick-walled fibres. • Tangential section. Altingia excelsa. • Radial section. Altingia excelsa. Inset: Vessel members with scalariform perforation plates.


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. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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