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Calophyllum

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)

Description

  • 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.

Occurrence

  • 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.

Appearance

Colour

  • 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

  • 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).

Uses

Construction

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

Decorative

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

Others

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

Properties

  • 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.