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MALAS (Parastemon urophyllus)

Trade Name


Scientific Name

Parastemon urophyllus (Wallich ex A. DC.) A. DC.



Common Names

Sempalawan; Nyalas; Ngilas; Mendailes; Melas; Mandailas; Kaju melas; Anggilas; Pink beam; Malas; Mengilas (Sarawak); Tempalawan (Brunei Darussalam); Mengilas (Malaysia)

Scientific Name Synonyms

Parastemon spicatus Ridley

Description Of The Tree

Botanical Description

It is a tree up to 40 m tall, often with small buttresses. The bole is cylindrical, branchless for 20 m, from 70 up to 180 cm in diameter.

Natural Habitat

Parastemon urophyllus is common along seashores and in primary, but more often in secondary forests. It is a typical component of peat swamps or fresh water swamp forests, growing on poor soils up to 700 m of altitude.

Natural Distribution

It occurs on the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo.

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Wood Identification

Anatomic Description Of Wood

Wood diffuse porous. Vessels in diagonal and/or radial pattern. Vessels exclusively solitary (over 90%). Vessels of two distinct diameter classes, wood not ring-porous. Occasionally tangential diameter of vessel lumina 200 micras or more. Vessels per mm2 less Occasionally apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse and/or diffuse in aggregates. Occasionally paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty and/or vasicentric. Prismatic crystals in chambered axial parenchyma cells and/or in fibers. 5 to 8 cells per parenchyma strand. Rays more than 10 per mm (abundant). Occasionally rays exclusively uniseriate. Occasionally body ray cells procumbent with mostly 2 to 4 rows of upright and/or square marginal cells (Kribs-II). Occasionally body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright a Fibers very thick walled. Fibers with distinctly bordered pits.

  • Wood Macro Photo Tangential Plane
  • Wood Micro Photo Of Transversal Section


Cites Status


General Wood Description


The sapwood is not clearly differentiated from the red brown heartwood that turns pale brown on exposure.

COLOR INDEX (1=Black, 7=Light yellow,white)



The grain is straight or slightly interlocked.


This wood has a somewhat medium texture.

Natural Durability

It is reported as moderately durable, but it is fairly resistant to teredo and other marine organisms.

Natural durability index (1= Very high durability, 7=Vey low durability)


Silica Content

Silica Content: Silica is present. Amounts over 0.05% may affect wood processing. Silica Value: 1

Wood Physical Properties

Basic Density or Specific Gravity (O.D. weight/vol. green) (g/cm³)


Air-dry Density (Weight and volume at 12%MC) (g/cm³)


Total shrinkage Tangential (Saturated to 0%MC) (%)


Total shrinkage Radial (Saturated to 0%MC) (%)


Drying Defects

Ease of Drying: It takes 5 months to air dry boards 40 mm thick. Drying Defects: It is subject to warping, particularly in case of back-sawn boards. Distortion and surface checking are also reported, although not severe considering its density.

Dimensional stability ratio (Total Tangential Shrinkage %/Total Radial Shrinkage %)


Wood Chemical Properties

Wood Mechanical Properties

Bending Strength (MOR),12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Stiffness (MOE) 12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Compression parallel to fiber 12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Shear strength radial 12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Janka hardness (side) 12%MC (kgf)


Janka hardness (end grain) 12%MC (kgf)




The wood contains a considerable amount of silica.

Blunting Effect

Wood of this species has a severe blunting effect.


It can be planed to a smooth surface.


This wood is difficult to nail, it needs pre-boring.


End Uses Summary

EXTERIOR GENERAL, bridges, poles, stakes posts, crossties, HOUSING GENERAL, flooring, SPORTS, TOOLS, agricultural tools, CONTAINERS, truck bodies, truck flooring, NAVAL CONSTRUCTION, boats, port pillar

Exterior General
  • 1 - Tabela de resultados de ensaios fisicos e mecanicos
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Stake Posts
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General Housing
  • 10 - Silica in Timbers
  • 14 - Handbook of Hardwoods
  • 38 - Annual Review and Assessment of the World Timber Situation 1998-ITTO
  • 42 - Utilización Industrial de Nuevas Especies Forestales en el Perú.
Agricultural Tools
  • 44 - Atlas of Peruvian Woods
Truck Body
  • 53 - Timbers of the New World
Truck Flooring
  • 54 - Bulletin of the Government Forest Experiment Station N.157: Identification of Tropical Woods
  • 55 - Tropical Timber Atlas of Latin America
  • 56 - Manual de Identificación de Especies Forestales de la Subregión Andina.
Port Pillar
  • 61 - Manual de Diseño para Maderas del Grupo Andino

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