Balau Sengkawang Air
Nama saintifik: Shorea sumatrana
Nama keluarga: Dipterocarpaceae
Balau Sengkawang Air trees in Taman Tugu
The Balau Sengkawang Air tree is an indigenous rainforest tree that are amongst the 4,100 trees added to the Taman Tugu site, selected in collaboration with Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (“FRIM”) and Malaysian Nature Society (“MNS”). This is one of the species being added which is considered as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”) Red List of Threatened Species due to logging for its timber and deforestation.
The Balau Sengkawang Air tree is a small tree with short buttresses. The leaves are thinly leathery, elliptic-oblong, with 10 – 14 pairs of lateral veins. The stipule is linear-lanceolate, falls off early, and leaving a stipular scar. The flowers are borne on a cluster. The flowers produced are small, cream-white to pale yellow with a slight tinge of pink on the inside. There are 25 stamens with oblong anthers, and ovary is densely hairy, and conical to hourglass-shaped. The fruit is woody with 5 slightly reflexed calyx lobes which resembles wings. The nut is globose with a short tip and covered in soft thin hairs.
The wood has a variety of uses including light construction, flooring, exterior joinery, musical instruments, boxes, and crates. The resin from the stem was traditionally used for making torch and is now used to produce paint, varnish, lacquer, cosmetic and is used in pharmaceutical, dental and linoleum industries. It is also used as emulsifier and stabiliser for paint products and printing inks. In Borneo, the fruit is used to make illipe butter, which can be eaten when cooked. The illipe butter obtained from the seed is easily absorbed by the skin. It can be used to treat skin problems and is often used as a carrier to apply other substances to the skin.
These tropical trees are found near river banks. These trees are native to Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and Thailand.