Tulip plum

Scientific name

Pleiogynium timorense. Family: Anacardiaceae

Other names

Burdekin plum


  • Grows to 30m high and 1.0m stem diameter, but it's usually much smaller.
  • Trunk is often irregular in cross-section.
  • Bark is dark brown, very scaly, rough and sheds in oblong pieces.


  • Distributed mainly in wetter areas along the Queensland coast:
    • Maryborough to Townsville
    • Cairns and Atherton regions.
  • Sawn timber is available but it's not common.



  • Heartwood is pale to dark reddish brown, usually streaked with darker bands.
  • Sapwood is usually pinkish brown.


  • Close grained, fine texture.
  • Usually straight.


  • Decorative: cabinet making, turnery, walking sticks, umbrella handles.
  • Others: previously used in smokers' pipes, and brush stock.


  • Density: 930kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.1m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: (S3) unseasoned, SD3 seasoned (brackets indicate provisional value).
  • Stress grades: F8, F11, F14, F17 (unseasoned); F14, F17, F22, F27 (seasoned) when visually stress-graded according to AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: JD2 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: not available.
  • Unit shrinkage: not available.
  • 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 lyctid borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: not resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood readily impregnates with preservative, but penetration of heartwood is negligible using available commercial processes.
  • Seasoning: satisfactorily dries using conventional air and kiln seasoning.
  • Hardness: hard (rated 2 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: machines, and turns well, to a smooth surface.
  • Fixing: no difficulty using standard fittings and fastenings.
  • Gluing: as with most high-density species, machine and prepare surface immediately before gluing.
  • Finishing: readily accepts stain, polish and paint.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: pinkish brown.
  • Heartwood: pale to dark reddish brown with occasional darker bands formed by latewood.
  • Texture: fine and uniform.

Wood structure

  • Growth rings: sometimes indicates growth zones.
  • Vessels: small, uniformly distributed, except in latewood at the end of a growth zone (where present); mostly in short radial multiples, some solitary and with an occasional cluster; vessel lines just visible on longitudinal surfaces; frequent tyloses; some deposits of extraneous material visible in vessels and rays.
  • Parenchyma (soft tissue): indefinite under a lens.
  • Rays: fine.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: crackles as it burns to a full white ash.

Research and resources

  • Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, Forest trees of Australia, 5th ed., CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  • Bootle, K 2005, Wood in Australia: Types, properties and uses, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Sydney.
  • 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.