Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: We are currently updating information following recent Queensland and Australian Government announcements. Find assistance and support for coronavirus affected businesses and industries.


Scientific name

Calophyllum spp. principally C. vitiense, C. leucocarpum, C. kajewskii, C. paludosum. Family: Guttiferae

Other names

Bitangor; Penaga (Malaysia); Bitangur (Indonesia); Vintanina (Madagascar); Damanu (Fiji); Island cedar; Kalofilum; Bush calophyllum (PNG); Gwarogwaro; Guoria; Oleole; Ba'ula (Solomon Is); Canoe tree (Andaman Islands); Galba; Galaba (West Indies); Poon (India, Myanmar); Kathing (Thailand); Cong (Vietnam)


  • Large hardwood with more than 100 species.
  • Grows to 30m high and 0.8m diameter.
  • Rarely buttressed (except for Papua New Guinea species) but occasionally with stilt roots.
  • Shallow-grooved outer bark is grey or white, and sheds in large thin strips.
  • Fast growing and often gregarious (grows in groups) due to natural regeneration.
  • Grows in widely different habitats from ridges in mountain forests to coastal swamps, lowland forests, and even coral cays.


  • Species of the genus marketed under the trade name Calophyllum occur from:
    • Madagascar
    • India
    • South-East Asia
    • Pacific Islands
    • South America
    • West Indies\
  • 4 species of Calophyllum occur in North Queensland rainforests, but are marketed under different trade names.



  • Sapwood varies between species from pale yellow, yellow-brown often with pink tints, to orange.
  • Sometimes distinct from the heartwood, depending on the species.
  • Heartwood is pink-red, or red-brown.


  • Grain is interlocked, wavy or irregular, producing streaky or ribbon figure (pattern) on the radial face.
  • Back-sawn boards commonly produce a zigzag figure (pattern).



  • Used in the past in general construction as flooring, framing, plywood.


  • Cabinet work.
  • Mouldings.
  • Joinery.
  • Panelling.
  • Turnery.
  • Veneer.


  • Boat building (ribs, masts, spars, oars and canoes).


  • Density: Air-dry density varies considerably between species. The range is between 540 and 900kg/m3—640kg/m3 is used for reference purposes.
  • Strength groups: S5 unseasoned, SD6 seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F5, F7, F8, F11, (unseasoned); F7, F8, F11, F14, (seasoned), when visually stress graded according to AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: J4 unseasoned, JD3 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC:
    • C. kajewskii, Solomon Islands: 4.4% (tangential); 2.5% (radial)
    • C. papuanum, PNG: 5.3% (tangential); 2.8% (radial)
    • C.vitiense, Fiji: 5.1% (tangential); 3.3% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage:
    • C. kajewskii, Solomon Islands: 0.23% (tangential), 0.16% (radial)
    • C. papuanum, PNG: 0.30% (tangential), 0.23% (radial)
    • C. vitiense, Fiji: 0.23% (tangential), 0.19% (radial).
  • Durability above-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 7 years).
  • Durability in-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 5 years).
  • Lyctine susceptibility: untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctine borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: not resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood readily impregnates with preservative.
  • Seasoning: difficult to season; use weights, end sealing and close sticker intervals to minimise degrade.
  • Hardness: firm (rated 4 on a 6-class scale) to indent and working with hand tools.
  • Machining: saws and machines well, though irregular, interlocked grain may make finishing difficult; irregular grain may show up in woolly patches.
  • Fixing: screws well, but nailing properties are relatively poor—pre-drill to prevent splitting.
  • Gluing: satisfactorily bonds using standard procedures.
  • Finishing: you may need to use filler, but finishes well, takes stains, polish or paint.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: pale yellowish pink, not easily distinguished from heartwood, depending on species.
  • Heartwood: pink-red to reddish brown.
  • Texture: coarse, open and uneven; grain interlocked or wavy.

Wood structure

  • Vessels: large to medium, solitary, arranged in oblique flares; vessel lines are very prominent, darker than surrounding tissue, on dressed surfaces.
  • Parenchyma (soft tissue): abundant, paratracheal, widely spaced concentric bands, visible to the unaided eye.
  • Rays: very fine.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: match-size splinter burns to ash.

Research and resources

  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2000, AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.