Teak

Teak

Overview




Teak is the common name for the tropical
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 hardwood
Hardwood
Hardwood is wood from angiosperm trees . It may also be used for those trees themselves: these are usually broad-leaved; in temperate and boreal latitudes they are mostly deciduous, but in tropics and subtropics mostly evergreen.Hardwood contrasts with softwood...

 tree species Tectona grandis and its wood products. Tectona grandis is native to south and southeast Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, mainly India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Malaysia, and Burma, but is naturalized and cultivated in many countries, including those in Africa and the Caribbean. Burma accounts for nearly one third of the world's total teak production.

The word teak comes from the Malayalam (in the Malabar Coast
Malabar Coast
The Malabar Coast is a long and narrow coastline on the south-western shore line of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, especially on their westward-facing mountain...

 region) word theka or tekka.
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Teak is the common name for the tropical
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 hardwood
Hardwood
Hardwood is wood from angiosperm trees . It may also be used for those trees themselves: these are usually broad-leaved; in temperate and boreal latitudes they are mostly deciduous, but in tropics and subtropics mostly evergreen.Hardwood contrasts with softwood...

 tree species Tectona grandis and its wood products. Tectona grandis is native to south and southeast Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, mainly India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Malaysia, and Burma, but is naturalized and cultivated in many countries, including those in Africa and the Caribbean. Burma accounts for nearly one third of the world's total teak production.

The word teak comes from the Malayalam (in the Malabar Coast
Malabar Coast
The Malabar Coast is a long and narrow coastline on the south-western shore line of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, especially on their westward-facing mountain...

 region) word theka or tekka. This tree is mentioned in the seventh-century literature of Tamil popularly known as the Tevaram
Tevaram
The Tevaram denotes the first seven volumes of the Tirumurai, the twelve-volume collection of Tamil Saivite devotional poetry. All seven volumes are dedicated to the works of the three most prominent Tamil poets - Campantar , Appar and Cuntarar...

.

Tectona grandis is a large, deciduous tree that is dominant in mixed hardwood forests. It has small, fragrant white flowers and papery leaves that are often hairy on the lower surface.

Description


Tectona grandis is a large, deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 tree up to 40 m (131 ft) tall with gray to grayish brown branchlets. Leaves are ovate-elliptic
Leaf shape
In botany, leaf shape is characterised with the following terms :* Acicular : Slender and pointed, needle-like* Acuminate : Tapering to a long point...

 to ovate, 15–45 cm (5.9–17.7 in) long by 8–23 cm (3.1–9.1 in) wide, and are held on robust petioles
Petiole (botany)
In botany, the petiole is the stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem. The petiole usually has the same internal structure as the stem. Outgrowths appearing on each side of the petiole are called stipules. Leaves lacking a petiole are called sessile, or clasping when they partly surround the...

 that are 2–4 cm (0.78740157480315–1.6 in) long. Leaf margins are entire.

Fragrant white flowers are borne on 25–40 cm (9.8–15.7 in) long by 30 cm (12 in) wide panicle
Panicle
A panicle is a compound raceme, a loose, much-branched indeterminate inflorescence with pedicellate flowers attached along the secondary branches; in other words, a branched cluster of flowers in which the branches are racemes....

s from June to August. The corolla tube is 2.5–3 mm long with 2 mm wide obtuse lobes. Tectona grandis sets fruit from September to December; fruits are globose and 1.2-1.8 cm in diameter. Flowers are weakly protandrous in that the anthers precede the stigma
Stigma (botany)
The stigma is the receptive tip of a carpel, or of several fused carpels, in the gynoecium of a flower. The stigma receives pollen at pollination and it is on the stigma that the pollen grain germinates. The stigma is adapted to catch and trap pollen with various hairs, flaps, or sculpturings...

 in maturity and pollen is shed within a few hours of the flower opening. The flowers are primarily entomophilous
Entomophily
Entomophily is a form of pollination whereby pollen is distributed by insects. Several insect are reported to be responsible for the pollination of many plant species, particularly bees, Lepidoptera , wasps, flies, ants and beetles. Some plant species co-evolved with a particular pollinator, such...

 (insect-pollinated), but can occasionally be anemophilous
Anemophily
Anemophily or wind pollination is a form of pollination whereby pollen is distributed by wind. Anemophilous plants may be either gymnosperms or angiosperms ....

 (wind-pollinated). A 1996 study found that in its native range in Thailand, the major pollinator were species in the Ceratina
Ceratina
The cosmopolitan bee genus Ceratina, often referred to as small carpenter bees, is the sole lineage of the tribe Ceratinini, and closely related to the more familiar carpenter bees...

genus of bees.

Distribution and habitat


Tectona grandis is one of three species in the genus Tectona. The other two species, T. hamiltoniana and T. philippinensis
Tectona philippinensis
Tectona philippinensis is a species of plant in the Lamiaceae family, formerly classified in the Verbenaceae. It is endemic to the Philippines. It is threatened by habitat loss.-References:...

, are endemics with relatively small native distributions in Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

 and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, respectively. Tectona grandis is native to India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, northern Thailand, and northwestern Laos.

Tectona grandis is found in a variety of habitats and climatic conditions from arid areas with only 500 mm of rain per year to very moist forests with up to 5,000 mm of rain per year. Typically, though, the annual rainfall in areas where teak grows averages 1,250-1,650 mm with a 3-5 month dry season.

Botanical history


Tectona grandis was first formally described by Carl Linnaeus the Younger in his 1782 work Supplementum Plantarum
Supplementum Plantarum
Supplementum Plantarum Systematis Vegetabilium Editionis Decimae Tertiae, Generum Plantarum Editiones Sextae, et Specierum Plantarum Editionis Secundae, commonly abbreviated to Supplementum Plantarum Systematis Vegetabilium or just Supplementum Plantarum, and further abbreviated by botanists to...

. In 1975, Harold Norman Moldenke
Harold Norman Moldenke
Harold Norman Moldenke, also known as simply Moldenke was an American botanist/taxonomist. His expertise is largely in the study of Verbenaceae, Avicenniaceae, Stilbaceae, Dicrastylidaceae, Symphoremaceae, Nyctanthaceae and Eriocaulaceae....

 published new descriptions of four forms
Form (botany)
In botanical nomenclature, a form is one of the "secondary" taxonomic ranks, below that of variety, which in turn is below that of species; it is an infraspecific taxon...

 of this species in the journal Phytologia. Moldenke described each form as varying slightly from the type specimen
Biological type
In biology, a type is one particular specimen of an organism to which the scientific name of that organism is formally attached...

: T. grandis f. canescens is distinguished from the type material by being densely canescent, or covered in hairs, on the underside of the leaf, T. grandis f. pilosula is distinct from the type material in the varying morphology of the leaf veins, T. grandis f. punctata is only hairy on the larger veins on the underside of the leaf, and T. grandis f. tomentella is noted for its dense yellowish tomentose hairs on the lower surface of the leaf.

Cultivation


Teak is a yellowish brown timber with good grains and texture. It is used in the manufacture of outdoor furniture
Teak furniture
Teak is used to make outdoor furniture, boats, and other things which require resistance to the elements. Teak is used for outdoor furniture because of its natural durability in extreme weather conditions and because of its relative rarity. Being more expensive than most other woods, teak furniture...

, boat deck
Deck (ship)
A deck is a permanent covering over a compartment or a hull of a ship. On a boat or ship, the primary deck is the horizontal structure which forms the 'roof' for the hull, which both strengthens the hull and serves as the primary working surface...

s, and other articles where weather resistance is desired. It is also used for cutting board
Cutting board
A cutting board is a durable board on which to place material for cutting. Common is the kitchen cutting board used in preparing food; other types exist for cutting raw materials such as leather or plastic....

s, indoor flooring
Flooring
Flooring is the general term for a permanent covering of a floor, or for the work of installing such a floor covering. Floor covering is a term to generically describe any finish material applied over a floor structure to provide a walking surface...

, countertop
Countertop
Countertop usually refers to a horizontal worksurface in kitchens or other food preparation areas, bathrooms or lavatories, and workrooms in general. It is frequently installed upon and supported by cabinets...

s and as a veneer
Wood veneer
In woodworking, veneer refers to thin slices of wood, usually thinner than 3 mm , that are typically glued onto core panels to produce flat panels such as doors, tops and panels for cabinets, parquet floors and parts of furniture. They are also used in marquetry...

 for indoor furnishings.

Teak, though easily worked, can cause severe blunting on edged tools because of the presence of silica in the wood. Teak's natural oils make it useful in exposed locations, and make the timber termite and pest resistant. Teak is durable even when not treated with oil or varnish. Timber cut from old teak trees was once believed to be more durable and harder than plantation grown teak. Studies have shown Plantation Teak
Plantation Teak
Plantation Teak is a tropical hardwood tree from the genus Tectona, endemic to Southeast Asia. The primary distinction between conventional teak and plantation teak is that the latter is exclusively planted for the purpose of forestry management, for either commercial or ecological purposes...

 performs on par with old-growth teak in erosion rate, dimensional stability, warping, and surface checking, but is more susceptible to color change from UV exposure.

The vast majority of commercially harvested teak is grown on teak plantations found in Indonesia and controlled by Perum Perhutani (a state owned forest enterprise) that manages the country's forests. The primary use of teak harvested in Indonesia is in the production of outdoor teak furniture for export.

Teak consumption raises a number of environmental concerns, such as the disappearance of rare old-growth teak. However, its popularity has led to growth in sustainable Plantation Teak
Plantation Teak
Plantation Teak is a tropical hardwood tree from the genus Tectona, endemic to Southeast Asia. The primary distinction between conventional teak and plantation teak is that the latter is exclusively planted for the purpose of forestry management, for either commercial or ecological purposes...

 production throughout the seasonally dry tropics in forestry
Forestry
Forestry is the interdisciplinary profession embracing the science, art, and craft of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human benefit. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands...

 plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

s. The Forest Stewardship Council
Forest Stewardship Council
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international not-for-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. Its main tools for achieving this are standard setting, independent certification and labeling of forest products...

 offers certification of sustainably grown and harvested teak products. Propagation of teak via tissue culture for plantation purposes is commercially viable.

Much of the world's teak is exported by Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 and Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

. There is also a rapidly growing plantation grown market in Central America (Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

) and South America.

Hyblaea puera
Hyblaea puera
Hyblaea puera, commonly known as the teak defoliator, is a moth native to southeast Asia. The species has also been recently reported to be present in Central America and Africa...

, a moth
Moth
A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth , with thousands of species yet to be described...

 native to southeast Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, is a teak pest whose caterpillar
Caterpillar
Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the order Lepidoptera . They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture...

 feeds on teak and other species of trees common in the region.

Uses


Teak is used extensively in India to make doors and window frames, furniture and columns and beams in old type houses. It is very resistant to termite attacks. Mature teak fetches a very good price. It is grown extensively by forest departments of different states in forest areas.

Leaves of the teak wood tree are used in making Pellakai gatti (jackfruit
Jackfruit
The jackfruit is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family . It is native to parts of Southern and Southeast Asia. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh, . The jackfruit tree is believed to be indigenous to the southwestern rain forests of India...

 dumpling), where batter
Batter (cooking)
Batter is a semi-liquid mixture of one or more flours combined with liquids such as water, milk or eggs used to prepare various foods. Often a leavening agent such as baking powder is included to aerate and fluff up the batter as it cooks, or the mixture may be naturally fermented for this purpose...

 is poured into a teak leaf and is steamed. This type of usage is found in the coastal district of Udupi in the Tulunadu region in South India. The leaves are also used in gudeg
Gudeg
Gudeg is a traditional food from Yogyakarta and Central Java, Indonesia which is made from young Nangka boiled for several hours with palm sugar, and coconut milk . Additional spices include garlic, shallot, candlenut, coriander seed, galangal, bay leaves, and teak leaves, the latter giving a...

, a dish of young jackfruit made in Central Java
Central Java
Central Java is a province of Indonesia. The administrative capital is Semarang. It is one of six provinces on the island of Java.This province is the province of high Human Development in Indonesia and its Points Development Index countries is equivalent to Lebanon. The province of Central Java...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, and give the dish its dark brown color.

Teak is used as a food plant by the larva
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

e of moth
Moth
A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth , with thousands of species yet to be described...

s of the genus Endoclita
Endoclita
Endoclita is a genus of moths of the family Hepialidae. There are 60 described species found in eastern and southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.- Species :*E. aboe - India*E. absurdus - China*E. actinidae - China...

including E. aroura, E. chalybeatus, E. damor, E. gmelina, E. malabaricus, E. sericeus and E. signifer and other Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies . It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world, encompassing moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies...

 including Turnip Moth
Turnip Moth
The Turnip Moth is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is a common European species, but it is also found in Asia and Africa, very likely having been spread by the international trade in nursery stock...

.

Teak is used extensively in boat decks
Deck (ship)
A deck is a permanent covering over a compartment or a hull of a ship. On a boat or ship, the primary deck is the horizontal structure which forms the 'roof' for the hull, which both strengthens the hull and serves as the primary working surface...

, as it is extremely durable and requires very little maintenance. The teak tends to wear in to the softer 'summer' growth bands first, forming a natural 'non-slip' surface. Any sanding is therefore only damaging. Use of modern cleaning compounds, oils or preservatives will shorten the life of the teak, as it contains natural teak-oil a very small distance below the white surface. Wooden boat experts will only wash the teak with salt water, and re-caulk when needed. This cleans the deck, and prevents it from drying out and the wood shrinking. The salt helps it absorb and retain moisture, and prevents any mildew and algal growth. People with poor knowledge often over-maintain the teak, and drastically shorten its life.

Propagation



Teak is propagated mainly from seeds. Germination of the seeds involves pretreatment to remove dormancy arising from the thick pericarp. Pretreatment involves alternate wetting and drying of the seed. The seeds are soaked in water for 12 hours and then spread to dry in the sun for 12 hours. This is repeated for 10–14 days and then the seeds are sown in shallow germination beds of coarse peat covered by sand. The seeds then germinate after 15 to 30 days.

Clonal propagation of teak has been successfully done thorough grafting, rooted stem cuttings and micro propagation. While bud grafting on to seedling root stock has been the method used for establishing clonal seed orchards that enables assemblage of clones of the superior trees to encourage crossing, rooted stem cuttings and micro propagated plants are being increasingly used around the world for raising clonal plantations.

External links