Scientific name: Hopea nutans
Family name: Dipterocarpaceae
Giam trees in Taman Tugu
The Giam 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”).
The Giam tree is a large rainforest tree species in the family Dipterocarpaceae. The tallest measured specimen is 82.8m tall in the Tawau Hills National Park, Sabah. Hopea nutans usually can grow up to 30m tall and 2.5m girth with a heavy crown. Its trunk is dark brown in colour and bark sheds in long flakes. Its leaves are leathery and ovate (about 8 – 13cm x 4.5 – 8.5cm) with acuminate apex. Its leaves have ladder-like venation and about 9 pairs of secondary veins. Its petiole is 12mm long with short sparsely pale brown hairs. Its stipules are very small (2.5mm long) and tend fall off early. It has panicle inflorescence (7cm long). Its flowers have pale yellow petals and 15 stamens in 3 subequal whorls. Its fruit has 2 enlarged calyx lobes (about 8cm long). The nut in the fruit (about 15mm long) is loosely embraced at the base by the calyx lobes.
Hopea nutans is the main source of Giam timber, which is very hard, heavy and durable. Tree is also harvested for its opaque yellow resin. This tree is mainly use for timber and products. Giam is a useful general-purpose timber for heavy construction. Its durability both in contact with the ground as well as in contact with water makes it suitable for purposes such as bridges, piers, wharves, piling, posts and electricity poles, beams and railway sleepers; it is in demand for boat building, specifically for boat keels. Giam is suitable for heavy-duty, industrial flooring. Other general applications of the timber are for vehicle bodies, furniture, wall plates and other interior finishes, window and door frames and heavy-duty laboratory benches. Due to its hardness, Giam is generally not suitable for plywood or veneer nor for particle board.
Hopea nutans occurs on sandy soils, often periodically inundated, near and on coastal hills. These trees are distributed from Sri Lanka and southern and eastern India through mainland Southeast Asia towards Malaysia, where it occurs on all islands except for the Lesser Sunda Islands. The oldest fossil wood belonging to the genus Hopea was found on the east coast of southern India and dates from the Miocene.