Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Gluta wallichii (Hook.f.) Ding Hou, 2012-03-22

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Eudicots
Order:Sapindales
Family:Anacardiaceae
Genus:Gluta
Species:G. wallichii
Common Names:Rengas
Status:Common

Description

This is a large evergreen tree of up to 45 m tall with a bole of up to 90 cm in diameter and buttresses up to 4 m high. The bark is deeply fissured, greyish brown while the inner bark is pinkish. Leaves are simple, 8.5-34.5 x 4-14 cm and spirally arranged. Flowers are white, densely hairy and1.5 mm wide. Fruits are 1-celled drupes, sometimes supported by a much enlarged wing-like petals. A resin oozes out when the wood is damaged, turning black when exposed to the air.

Read more about the Sapindales order.
Read more about the Anacardiaceae family.

Distribution

Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.

Localities

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, MacRitchie

Human Uses

The tree is an important source of the beautiful reddish and streaked heartwood rengas timber, valued for furniture. The timber is also used for columns and beams in houses, bridge construction, railway sleepers, floors and veneer. The fruits have been kown to be used in dart poison.

The resin can cause serious skin problems such that loggers generally avoid felling the trees. Carpenters have been known to develop serious rashes working with the timber. There are people who develops rengas allergy even sitting on chairs made from the wood.

References

Chong, K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & R. T. Corlett, 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 273 pp.

Lemmens, R. H. M. J., I. Soerianegara  & W. C. Wong (eds.) (1995). Plant resources of South-East Asia - No. 5(2): Timber trees: Minor commercial timbers. Backhuys, Leiden.

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