Scientific name: Hopea ferrea
Family name: Dipterocarpaceae
Malut trees in Taman Tugu
The Malut tree is an indigenous rainforest species found amongst the 4,100 trees added to the Taman Tugu site, selected in collaboration with the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (“FRIM”) and Malaysian Nature Society (“MNS”). These are one of the trees being added which are classified in ‘Endangered’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”) Red List of Threatened Species as these trees are heavily harvested for its timber.
The Malut tree is an evergreen tree growing from 15-30 m tall, with slender drooping twigs and no buttresses. The flaky bark is red-brown to dark brown in colour. The ovate shaped leaves are leathery and usually with gland-like domatia in the axils of veins. The young leaves are bright red and become glossy green as they matures. There are 6-9 pairs of secondary veins and ladder-like tertiary veins. The twigs are dark brown and smooth, often slightly zigzagging. The petiole and stipule falls off early, leaving a faint stipular scar. The flowers occur in clusters which is up to 8 cm long. The flowers are small, cream to pale yellow, honey scented, and covered in soft hairs. The flower buds are ovoid. The fruit has 2 long wings which is spatula-shaped, and 3 shorter wings. The fruit is pale green, ripening pinkish orange. The nut is cylindrical with an abruptly tapering tip.
The Malut tree is a valuable source of timber and resin. It is a commercially important timber with heartwood colour of dark yellow or brownish yellow to brownish red. The wood is fine-grained, very heavy, durable, and resistant to the attacks of insects. It splits easily when dry. It is used for heavy construction work, boards, furniture and boat making, etc. The trunk of the Malut tree also contains a yellowish and very aromatic resin.
These tropical trees are found in lowland deciduous evergreen forest, mostly on rocky ridges and limestone. These trees are native to the north western part of Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, and Indochina.