Scientific name: Hopea Coriacea
Family name: Dipterocarpaceae
Damar Melapi trees in Taman Tugu
The Damar Melapi is an indigenous rainforest tree which is amongst the 4,100 trees added to the Taman Tugu site. This tree was selected in collaboration with Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (“FRIM”) and Malaysian Nature Society (“MNS”).
The Damar Melapi is a tall tree up to 16m-30m in height with flaky or fissured-bark. Its stalked, alternately-arranged leaves are thick and leathery, broadly ovate, and usually found in dimensions of 11-16cm by 6-10cm. The leaf margins are slightly curved in. Its flowers are five-petaled with each petal found narrow-lanceolate, and about 1.3cm long. The flowers are borne on a stalked inflorescence. Its fruits are winged nuts. The spatulate ‘wings’ are formed from two of the longer lobes of the persistent calyx, about 7cm long and 1.5cm wide. The ovoid nut is about 1.8cm by 0.9cm, enclosed by the remaining shorter calyx lobes.
The wood is used traditionally for house supports and boat hulls. The wood is very likely to be in the group of timbers known as ‘Merawan’. A general description of merawan wood is a yellow-brown to chocolate reddish-brown heartwood, with an occasional dark striping. It is not clearly demarcated from the 5 – 7cm wide band of light yellow-brown sapwood. The texture is fine to medium, while the grain straight or interlocked, with rather low luster and without distinctive odour or taste.
The tree is found locally on or near sandy river banks, rarely (in Brunei) on hills to 200m. It is also scattered on low hills and ridges.