Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Vitex spp. (Leban)

Nomenclature etc. VERBENACEAE. Species included in the description: Vitex cofassus Reinw.ex.Bl., V. glabrata R.Br., V. parviflora Juss., V. pubescens Vahl, V. quinata F.N. Will., V. rufa A. Chev., V. triflora Hub., V. velutina Koord., V. vestita Wall. Trade and local names: laban, guapasa, ketileng, serawet (ID); leban, kulim papa (MY); garamut (PG); molawe, bongoog (PH); kyetyo (MM); tinnok (TH); binh linh (VN). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 20 specimens. Tree. Geographic distribution: Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indomalesia.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically brown and yellow, without streaks. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.5–0.85 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. Many solitary vessels, radial multiples of 4 or more not common. Average tangential vessel diameter 65–140–220 µm; diameter of vessel lumina: large. Average number of vessels/mm² 8–20; vessels per square millimetre few. Vessel diameter of V. vestita 60–85–115 µm; vessels per mm² in V.rufa 4–7, in V. triflora 26–38. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 5–12 µm, small and medium, not vestured. Scalariform perforations extremely rare (observed in only one vessel of V. velutina). Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular, of uniform size or type, of the same type in adjacent elements, located throughout the ray. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled. Other deposits in heartwood vessels not observed.

Tracheids and fibres. Vascular or vasicentric tracheids sporadic to absent. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Helical thickenings absent. Fibres exclusively septate. Septate fibres evenly distributed.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, not banded. Axial parenchyma apotracheal and paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty and vasicentric. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–6(–7).

Rays. Rays present, 4–9(–12) per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), (1–)2–4 cells wide, narrow (2–3 seriate) and of medium width (3–5 seriate). Rays with multiseriate portions as wide as uniseriate portions absent. Aggregate rays absent. Height of large rays up to 500 µm and commonly 500 to 1000 µm. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular) and two or more cell types (heterocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent. Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells. Sheath cells absent. Tile cells absent. Perforated ray cells absent. Most species have homocellular and heterocellular rays. V. coffasus, V. pubescens and V. parviflora do not have heterocellular rays in all specimens; rays in V. rufa are clearly heterocellular; in V. triflora and V. velutina the larger rays are commonly 4-seriate.

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, prismatic, located in ray cells. Crystal-containing ray cells procumbent, upright and/or square ray cells not chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one and more than one. Crystals in one cell or chamber of the same size. Crystal containing cells of normal size. Cystoliths absent. Crystals present in V. pubescens, V. coffassus, V. parviflora; crystals absent in V. quinata, V. rufa, V. triflora, and V. velutina. Silica present and not observed, as grains, in rays cells and in fibres. Silica grains observed in fibres of V. quinata and V. velutina; silica grains also in rays of one specimen of V. pubescens.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract not fluorescent; basically yellow or shade of yellow. 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 negative. Splinter burns to partial ash. Ash white to grey.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Vitex cofassus. • Tangential section. Vitex cofassus. • Radial section. Vitex cofassus. • Crystals in rays. Vitex cofassus. Small irregular crystals in rays.

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.’.