Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Fagraea fragrans Roxb., Fagraea spp. (Tembesu, tembusu)

Nomenclature etc. LOGANIACEAE. Additional species of Fagraea occasionally traded as 'tembesu': F. crenulata (S.Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo), F. elliptica (Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Moluccas, New Guinea), F. gracilipes (New Guinea, E.Australia, Solomon Islands, Fiji). Trade and local names: tembesu, tamosu, kolaki, nosu (ID); tembusu, temasuk, pedang (MY); urung, dolo, teca (PH); anan, ananma (MM); Burma yellowheart, ironwood (GB); tatrao (KH); man pa (LA); tam sao, kankrao, man pla (TH); trai (VN). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Burma to Indomalesia.

General. Growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically brown yellow to white or grey, without streaks. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.7–1.1 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 100–200 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 6–14(–20). Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 6–8 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, horizontal to vertical. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness to very thick-walled. Average fibre length 900–1800 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty, or vasicentric. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–4. Parenchyma bands often wavy and discontinuous.

Rays. Rays 15–17 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate. Aggregate rays absent. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular), or two or more cell types (heterocellular); homocellular ray cells square or upright. Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Oil and mucilage cells absent. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes absent.

Cambial variants. Included phloem absent. Other cambial variants absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals not observed. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Fagraea fragrans. • Tangential section. Fagraea fragrans. • Radial section. Fagraea fragrans.


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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