Scientific name: Syzigium acuminatissimum
Family name: Myrtaceae
Kelat Asam trees in Taman Tugu
The Kelat Asam 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 Kelat Asam is an evergreen shrub or a tree that can grow up to 34m tall. The straight bole (trunk) can be free of branches for up to 10m and up to 50cm in diameter; it is markedly fluted, and sometimes may appear with buttresses.
Its branchlets can appear terete or obtusely ridged. Its petiole (the stalk on which the leaves attach to) are 5-8 mm long with ovate-lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate leaf blades, leathery, and adaxially dark with numerous oil glands and secondary veins numerous. Its flowers are 3-flowered cymes arranged into panicles, and are 3-6cm wide with peduncle ridged. Its flower buds are bovoid, 3-4 mm wide, basally cuneate, andapically rounded. Its petals are white and distinct. Its fruit are blackish purple when ripe, and globose in form and 1.5cm in diameter with 1 seed.
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild as a food for local use, and for its timber, which is used locally and is also traded. The wood is used as structural timber.
The wood is heavy; moderately hard; somewhat durable, being moderately resistant to fungi and termites, but susceptible to dry wood borers. It seasons slowly, with a high risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. It works well with ordinary tools, nailing and screwing are good so long as the wood is pre-bored; gluing is correct. The wood is used for musical instruments, tool handles, furniture components, ship building, heavy carpentry, flooring, joinery, amongst others.
The Kelat Asam is a sub-canopy or canopy tree that grows in undisturbed to slightly disturbed sub-montane and montane forests at elevations up to 3,000m; growing on hillsides and ridges, usually with poor sandy to ultrabasic soils, but also on clay and limestone.
These trees are native to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Andamans, Myanmar, Vietnam, Southern China, Philippines to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.