Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Tectona grandis L. (Teak, jati)

Nomenclature etc. VERBENACEAE. Trade and local names: teak (DE, GB, NL, NG), Indien-, Burma-, Java-, Laos-, Thailand-, Rangoon-Teak (DE), teck (FR, IT), kyun (MM), gia thi (VN), tadi, tek, sagwan (IN), djati (ID, MY), kembal, semarang (ID), may sak (LA, KH, TH), jat, sak (TH), djatti (GH), teca (ES). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and tropical Africa (cult.).

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically brown to yellow (golden brown), with streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour distinct. Density 0.44–0.63–0.82 g/cm³. Greasy surface.

Vessels. Wood ring-porous or semi-ring-porous. Ring of earlywood vessels uniseriate. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 50–270 µm (50–100 in latewood, 140–270 in earlywood). Average number of vessels/mm² 4–6–9. Ring of earlywood vessels almost always uniseriate. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 5–6 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Vascular or vasicentric tracheids commonly present (only in latewood). Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 700–1400 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres exclusively septate, or septate and non-septate. Septate fibres evenly distributed. Fibres with light coloured to translucent contents in form of small droplets.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded (bands may completely include earlywood vessels). Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty and vasicentric. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 3–4.

Rays. Rays 5–7 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), (2–)3–4(–5) cells wide. Height of large rays commonly 500 to 1000 µm. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals not observed. Silica present, as vitreous silica, in vessels (scaly lining of inner vessel walls including tyloses).

Illustrations. • Macro images. Tectona grandis. Transverse. Longitudinal. • Transverse section. Tectona grandis. Wood semi-ringporous (fast-grown tree from plantations - left) to ringporous (slow-grown tree from natural forest - right). • Tangential section. Tectona grandis. • Radial section. Tectona grandis. • Septate fibres. Tectona grandis. • Vitrious silica linings. Tectona grandis. Vitrious silica lining the inner walls of tyloses in vessels: transverse section (left), radial section (right). • Vitrious silica blocks. Tectona grandis. Vitrious silica blocks filling cell lumina (latewood vessels, axial parenchyma, fibres) : transverse section (left), tangential section (right).


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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