- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Last reviewed: 12 Dec 2018
- Last updated: 12 Dec 2018