Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Madhuca spp. (Bitis)

Nomenclature etc. SAPOTACEAE. Species included in the description: M. aspera H.J. Lam, M. bejandii Aubr., M. betis (Blanco) MacBride, M. latifolia (Roxb.) MacBride, M. longifolia (Koenig) MacBride, M. neriifolia (Moon) H.J. Lam, M. pasquieri (Dubard) H.J. Lam, M. philippinensis Merr., M. pierrei (Williams) H.J. Lam, M. sericera H.J. Lam, M. utilis (Ridley) H.J. Lam. Trade and local names: bitis, nyatoh batu (MY, ID). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indomalesia, and Pacific Islands.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct and indistinct or absent. Growthrings, if distinct, delimited by a darker zone (earlywood?) without parenchyma. Heartwood basically brown and red (pinkish-brown to reddish-brown), without streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.42–1.15 g/cm³.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Vessel outline rounded. Two distinct vessel diameter classes absent. Average tangential vessel diameter (55–)120(–220) µm; diameter of vessel lumina: large. Average number of vessels/mm² (4–)12(–25); vessels per square millimetre few and moderately numerous. Average vessel element length (520–)800(–1200) µm. Average vessel element length medium and long. M. betis with more than 25 vessels per mm², very small (35–85 µm); vessels in M. longifolia much larger (110–270 µm). Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) (4–)5–7(–8) µm, small and medium, not vestured. M. utilis: intervessel pits up to 8 µm and more. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders and with reduced borders or apparently simple, similar to intervessel pits, rounded or angular and horizontal to vertical, of two distinct sizes or types in the same ray cell, of the same type in adjacent elements, located throughout the ray. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled and sclerotic. Other deposits in heartwood vessels not observed.

Tracheids and fibres. Vascular or vasicentric tracheids commonly present and sporadic to absent. Fibres of medium wall thickness to very thick-walled. Average fibre length 900–1580(–2120) µm. Average fibre length medium and long. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Helical thickenings absent. Fibres non-septate. Tracheids of regular but infrequent occurrence.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, banded and not banded. Axial parenchyma bands not marginal (or seemingly marginal), reticulate, fine, up to three cells wide, (4–)7(–12) per radial mm. Axial parenchyma apotracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 4–7. Unlignified parenchyma absent.

Rays. Rays present, 8(–15) per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate and multiseriate (also if only few), 1–3 cells wide, narrow (2–3 seriate). Rays with multiseriate portions as wide as uniseriate portions absent. Aggregate rays absent. Rays of one size. Height of large rays up to 500 µm and commonly 500 to 1000 µm (M. philippinenensis, M. longifolia: rays up to 1200 µm in height). 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 (in M. betis rays with more than 4 marginal rows). Sheath cells absent. Tile cells absent. Perforated ray cells absent. Disjunctive ray parenchyma end walls distinct and indistinct or absent. Wood rays sometimes partly 2–3 seriate with uniseriate tails.

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 present and not observed (crystals observed in: M. betis), prismatic, located in ray cells and axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square, upright and/or square ray cells not chambered. Crystals in procumbent ray cells not in radial alignment. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber more than one. Crystals in one cell or chamber of two distinct sizes. Crystal containing cells of normal size. Cystoliths absent. Silica present, as grains, in rays cells and in axial parenchyma.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract fluorescent (yellow); basically colourless to brown or shade of brown. Heartwood extractives not leachable by water. Ethanol extract not fluorescent. Colour of ethanol extract colourless to brown or shade of brown. Chrome azurol-S test negative. Froth test positive. Splinter burns to partial ash. Ash white to grey.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Madhuca betis. • Tangential section. Madhuca longifolia. • Radial section. Madhuca betis. • Silica in rays. Madhuca betis.

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.’.