Scientific name: Hopea sangal
Family name: Dipterocarpaceae
Merawan Hitam trees in Taman Tugu
The Merawan Siput 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”). These are one of the trees being added which are classified in ‘Critically Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”) Red List of Threatened Species due to extensive timber harvesting.
These evergreen trees grow up to maximum 40m tall with stout buttresses. They are in ovate foliar shape with an intermediate canopy. The dark brown bark is vertically cracked and scaly. Cream-white resin exudations often formed on the tree trunk. The stalked leaves are alternately arranged. Each leaf is egg-shaped and has thin leaf blade. The hairy domatia grows along the leaf vein on the lower surface of leaf blade. The slender tertiary veins are parallel to each other but indistinct. They grow single or double flowering shoots and each shoot bears up to 8 pale yellow flowers with white-tipped hair on the same side in a branchlet. The fruit appears as egg-shaped winged nut which is sparsely covered with hair.
Merawan Hitam trees are harvested from the wild for timber and resin
Merawan Hitam trees prefer moist, well-drained and fertile loamy soil. They grow on clay-rich soil on river bank and hillside up to 500m in altitude. These tropical trees are native to primary rainforest and riverine in Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Singapore, Bangka and Belitung islands, Sumatra, West Java, and Peninsular Thailand.