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PELAWAN (Tristaniopsis obovata)

Trade Name


Scientific Name

Tristaniopsis obovata (Benn..) Peter G. Wilson & J.T. Waterh.



Common Names

Pelawan; Pelawan kiring (Indonesia); Selunsur puteh (Sarawak)

Scientific Name Synonyms

Tristania spathulata Ridley; Tristania obovata Benn.

Description Of The Tree

Botanical Description

It is a small tree, up to 20 m and 35 cm in diameter. The buttresses are usually absent.

Natural Habitat

Tristaniopsis trees are reported in many types of lowland to lower montane forests, up to 1,300 m of altitude. Often found scattered along rivers or near the coast.

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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%). Occasionally vessels with colored deposits. Tyloses common. Vestured pits. Vessels per mm2 5 to 20. Vessel-ray pits reticulate and/or foraminate. Vascular/vas Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse and/or diffuse in aggregates. Occasionally apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse and/or diffuse in aggregates. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty and/or vasicentric. Occasionally axial parenchyma aliform. Axial parenchyma 4 to 10 rays per mm (medium). Rays more than 10 per mm (abundant). Rays exclusively uniseriate. Silica bodies in the ray cells. Occasionally body ray cells procumbent with over 4 rows of upright and/or square marginal cells (Kribs-I). Body ray cells procumbent Fibers very thick walled. Fibers with distinctly bordered pits.


Cites Status


General Wood Description


No smell or taste are reported for this wood.


The heartwood is pink-brown, red-brown or purple-gray-brown, only occasionally distinct from the paler sapwood.


The grain is interlocked, sometimes wavy.


The texture of the wood is fine.

Natural Durability

The wood is durable to extremely durable when exposed to the weather or in contact with the ground. It is resistant to termites and marine borer attack.

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


Silica Content

Silica Content: Presence of silica is reported in timber of this species. Amounts over 0.05% may affect the wood processing. Silica Value: 1

Resistance To Impregnation

It is difficult to impregnate.

Wood Physical Properties

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: Drying is very slow and difficult to perform; defects are frequent. Drying Defects: Risks of distortions. Kiln Schedules: The kiln schedule has been tested.

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)




Sawing of this species is reported to be rather difficult.

Rotary Veneer Cutting

It is not suitable for plywood because of its high density and processing difficulties.

Sliced Veneer

It is not suitable for plywood because of its high density and processing difficulties.

Blunting Effect

It is considered to have a severe blunting effect on the cutting elements.


It is fairly difficult to work due to its hardness and high silica content.


The wood can be planed to a relatively smooth surface, although a reduced cutting angle of 15 to 20 degrees may be necessary.


Pre-boring is necessary before nailing.

Substitute Species

It is suggested as a substitute of Lignum vitae).


End Uses Summary

EXTERIOR GENERAL, bridges, poles, stakes posts, crossties, piers, HOUSING GENERAL, beams, flooring, SPORTS, bowling polo balls, TOOLS, tool handles, NAVAL CONSTRUCTION, boat deck, port pillar, port storage, OTHER AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, axle, wheel

Exterior General
  • 1 - Tabela de resultados de ensaios fisicos e mecanicos
  • 2 - 25 madeiras da amazonia de valor comercial, caracterizacao, macroscopica, usos comuns e indices qualificativos
  • 3 - Estudo dendrologico e determinacao das caracteristicas fisicas e mecanicas do genipapo (Genipa americana)
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
  • 9 - Maderas latinoamericanas. IV, Nectandra sp. Ocotea austinii, Persea sp. aff. vesticula, Persea schiedeana
General Housing
  • 10 - Silica in Timbers
  • 11 - Prospect: The wood database
  • 14 - Handbook of Hardwoods
  • 38 - Annual Review and Assessment of the World Timber Situation 1998-ITTO
Balls Bowling Polo
  • 40 - Internet
  • 42 - Utilización Industrial de Nuevas Especies Forestales en el Perú.
Tool Handles
  • 43 - Maderas de Bolivia (Características y Usos de 55 Maderas Tropicales)
  • 55 - Tropical Timber Atlas of Latin America
Boat Decking
  • 59 - Programa Nacional de uso Sostenible de los Bosques e Incremento a las Exportaciones.
Port Pillar
  • 61 - Manual de Diseño para Maderas del Grupo Andino
Port Storage
  • 62 - Estudio Tecnológico de Maderas del Perú (Zona Pucallpa) Vol I
  • 73 - Handbook of Hardwoods
  • 75 - Tropenholzer

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