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MERBATU (Parinari costata)

Trade Name


Scientific Name

Parinari costata (Korth.) Blume



Common Names

Merbatu pipit (Malaysia); Mengkudur (Indonesia); Bugan (Malaysia); Tayas (Sumatra); Tayas (Indonesia); Sekepal kemalau (Malaysia); Sukupal (Indonesia); Mengkudur (Borneo); Sukupal (Sumatra); Bugan (Sabah)

Scientific Name Synonyms

Parinari rubiginosa Ridley; Parinari polyneurum Miq.; Parinari bicolor Merr.

Description Of The Tree

Botanical Description

It is a tree up to 60 m tall, 90 cm diameter. The trunk is buttressed up to 2 m.

Natural Habitat

It is reported in primary or ,occasionally, in secondary evergreen or semi-evergreen forests. This species is often found along rivers and streams, sometimes ascending into montane areas up to 1,400 m of altitude. Not enough information available to apply

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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. Tangential diameter of vessel lumina 200 micras or more (large). Vessels per mm2 5 to 20. Ve Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse and/or diffuse in aggregates. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty and/or vasicentric. Occasionally siliceous bodies in the axial parenchyma. 5 to 8 cells per parenchyma strand. Over 9 cells per parenchyma strand. Axial par Rays more than 10 per mm (abundant). Ray height more than 1 mm. Occasionally rays exclusively uniseriate. Silica bodies in the ray cells. Occasionally body ray cells procumbent with mostly 2 to 4 rows of upright and/or square marginal cells (Kribs-II). Body ra 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 heartwood is red-brown, sometimes with a yellow tinge and not clearly demarcated from the paler sapwood.


The grain is straight to slightly interlocked.


The texture is moderately coarse.

Natural Durability

The wood is only moderately durable when exposed to the weather or in contact with the ground and it is easily attacked by termites.

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


Internal Growth Stresses

Growth stresses are reported in this species.

Silica Content

Silica Content: Silica presence is reported. Amounts over 0.05% may affect wood processing. Silica Value: 0

Resistance To Impregnation

It has a good absorption of preservative substances.

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)


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


Shear strength radial 12%MC (kgf/cm²)


Janka hardness (side) 12%MC (kgf)




Wood of this species is difficult to cut because of its silica content.

Blunting Effect

The wood has a rapid blunting effect due to silica inclusions. Tungsten tipped tools are recommended.


Wood processing is reported to be difficult.


It tends to pick up in planing.

Response To Hand Tools

It has a poor response to hand tools.


End Uses Summary

EXTERIOR GENERAL, stakes posts, crossties, HOUSING GENERAL, beams, parquet, panelling, PACKING, heavy packing, NAVAL CONSTRUCTION, port pillar

Exterior General
  • 1 - Tabela de resultados de ensaios fisicos e mecanicos
Stake Posts
  • 5 - Propriedades fisicas e mecanicas da madeira e do contraplacado de Pinus elliottii
  • 8 - Maderas latinoamericas. III, Podocarpus standleyi ,Podocarpus oleifolius, Drims granadensis, Magnolia poasana y Didymopanax pittieri
General Housing
  • 10 - Silica in Timbers
  • 11 - Prospect: The wood database
  • 15 - Empire Timbers
  • 18 - W3TROPICOS Missouri Botanical Garden
  • 45 - Recopilación y Análisis de Estudios Tecnológicos de Maderas Peruanas
Heavy Packing
  • 47 - Arvores Brasileiras
  • 55 - Tropical Timber Atlas of Latin America
Port Pillar
  • 61 - Manual de Diseño para Maderas del Grupo Andino

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