Botanical Name : Shorea siamensis
Species: S. siamensis
*Hopea suavis Wall.
*Pentacme malayana King
*Pentacme siamensis (Miq.) Kurz
*Pentacme suavis A.DC.
*Pentacme tomentosa Craib
*Shorea bracteata Pierre ex Laness.
Common Names: Dark red meranti, Light red meranti, Red lauan
Habitat: Shorea siamensis is native to most of mainland Southeast Asia. Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam.
A canopy tree of dry Dipterocarp forests, especially on skeletal soils and overlying granite; occurring scattered on rocky headlands in Malaya.
Shorea siamensis is a deciduous Tree growing to 18 m (59ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.In larger specimens the straight bole can be free of branches for 12 – 15 metres; up to 80cm in diameter; and buttressed.
The tree yields a resin and a valuable timber, as well as having local medicinal uses. It is commonly harvested from the wild.
The plant is classified as ‘Least Concern’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
A plant of lowland areas in the moist tropics, it grows at elevations from sea level to over 1,000 metres. It prefers a tropical monsoon climate with a mean annual rainfall of 1,250 – 2,000mm, with a well pronounced wet season and a dry season of up to 6 months Requires a sunny position. The plant has adapted to very dry conditions and mainly grows on shallow poor, and rocky sand soils, or on limestone soils with an acid to neutral pH. Established plants are drought tolerant. The plant grows in areas that are often subject to forest fires. It has adapted to be able to survive these fires and by the time it is large it is very resistant. In areas with high fire frequencies, the species grows shrubby until the root system is vigorous enough to send up a strong terminal shoot, which rapidly develops a thick rough, fire resistant bark at the base.
Medicinal Uses: The bark is astringent. A decoction is used in the treatment of dysentery.
A red resin is obtained from the tree. It is used for caulking boats/ The bark contains 9% tannin and the wood 6%. This is regarded as too little to be of commercial importance. The heartwood is yellowish-brown turning to brownish-red or dark brown; it is clearly demarcated from the red sapwood. Texture is medium to coarse. In comparison to most other species in this family, the wood is very hard, heavy, strong and very durable. Graveyard tests have indicated a life of over 270 months for the wood, whilsr untreated sleepers have lasted for 15 years in the ground. Sawing and working is rather difficult and the wood is quite tolerant to treatment, however it can take a good polish on a well finished surface. It is used for heavy construction. A highly prized wood, it is used for valuable furniture, house and long term construction, bows etc. It is regarded as an excellent wood for sleepers.
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