|Scientific classification |
Dipterocarpaceae is a family of 17 genera and approximately 580-680 species of mainly tropical lowland rainforest trees with two-winged fruits. The largest genera are Shorea (360 species), Hopea (105 species), Dipterocarpus (70 species), and Vatica (60 species). Many are large forest emergent species, typically reaching heights of 40-70 m tall. The species of this family are of major importance in the timber trade. Their distribution is pantropical, from northern South America to Africa, the Seychelles, India, Indochina and Malesia, with the greatest diversity and abundance in western Malesia. Some species are now endangered as a result of overcutting and extensive illegal logging. They provide valuable woods, aromatic essential oils, balsam, and resins.
The dipterocarp family is generally divided into three subfamilies:
- Monotoideae: 3 genera, 30 species. Monotes has 26 species, distributed across Africa, Madagascar, South America. Pseudomonotes is native to the Colombian Amazon. Marquesia is native to Africa.
- Pakaraimoideae: contains a single species, Pakaraimaea roraimae, found in the Guaianan highlands of South America.
- Dipterocarpoideae: the largest of the subfamilies, it contains 13 genera and 470-650 species. Distribution includes the Seychelles, Sri Lanka, India, Southeast Asia to New Guinea, but mostly in west Malesia, where they form the dominant species in the lowland forests. The Dipterocarpoideae can be divided into two groups (Ashton, 1982; and Maury-Lechon and Curtet, 1998):
- Valvate-Dipterocarpi group (Anisoptera, Cotylelobium, Dipterocarpus, Stemonoporus, Upuna, Vateria, Vateriopsis, Vatica). The genera of this group have valvate sepals in fruit, solitary vessels, scattered resin canals, and basic chromosome number x = 11.
- Imbricate-Shoreae group (Balanocarpus, Hopea, Parashorea, Shorea). The genera of this group have imbricate sepals in fruit, grouped vessels, resin canals in tangential bands, and basic chromosome number x = 7. A recent molecular study (Dayanandan et. al., 1999) suggest that the genus Hopea forms a clade with Shorea sections Anthoshorea and Doona, and should be merged into Shorea.
A recent genetic study (Ducousso et. al. 2004) found that the Asian dipterocarps share a common ancestor with the Sarcolaenaceae, a tree family endemic to Madagascar. This suggests that ancestor of the Dipterocarps originated in the southern supercontinent of Gondwana, and that the common ancestor of the Asian dipterocarps and the Sarcolaenaceae was found in the India-Madagascar-Seychelles land mass millions of years ago, and were carried northward by India, which later collided with Asia and allowed the dipterocarps to spread across Southeast Asia and Malesia.
The following table associates tree species, wood name and wood color. The term Philippine red mahogany refers to the wood of trees belonging to the genera Shorea and Parashorea.
|Genus & section ||Species ||Wood name ||Wood colour ||Wood type |
|Anisoptera ||A. cochinchinensis, A. marginata, A. scaphula, A. thurifera and about ten other species ||Mersawa || ||light hardwood |
|Cotylelobium ||C. burckii, C. lanceolatum, C. melanoxylon ||Resak || ||heavy hardwood |
|Dipterocarpus ||D. alatus, D. baudii, D. basilanicus, D. borneensis, D. caudiferus, D. costulatus, D. grandiflorus, D. kerrii, D. tonkinensis, D. verrucosus, D. warburgii, and about 60 other species ||Keruing || ||medium hardwood |
|Dryobalanops ||D. aromatica, D. camphora, D. junghunii, D. kayanensis, D. lanceolata, D. oblongifolia, D. sumatrensis ||Kapur, Kapor || ||medium hardwood |
|Hopea ||H. acuminata, H. beccariana, H. dryobalanoides, H. mengarawan, H. nervosa, H. odorata, H. sangal and other species ||Merawan || ||medium hardwood |
|Hopea ||H. ferrea, H. forbesii, H. helferi, H. nutans, H. semicuneata and other species ||Giam || ||heavy hardwood |
|Neobalanocarpus ||N. heimii ||Chengal || ||heavy hardwood |
|Parashorea ||P. aptera, P. buchananii, P. chinensis, P. densiflora, P. globosa, P. lucida, P. macrophylla, P. malaanonan, P. parvifolia, P. smythiesii, P. stellata, P. tomentella ||Gerutu || ||light hardwood |
|Parashorea ||Parashorea plicata ||Bagtikan ||grey-brown || |
|Shorea (Pentacme) ||S. contorta, S. minandensis ||White Lauan ||grey to very light red || |
|Shorea sect. Shorea ||S. atrinervosa, S. brunnescens, S. crassa, S. exelliptica, S. foxworthyi, S. glauca, S. havilandii, S. laevis, S. leptoderma, S. materialis, S. maxwelliana, S. seminis, S. submontana, S. sumatrana, S. superba ||Balau || ||heavy hardwood |
|Shorea sect. Almon ||S. almon, S. contorta, S. leprosula, S. leptoclados, S. smithiana ||Almon ||light red to pink || |
|Shorea sect. Anthoshorea ||S. assamica, S. assamica, S. bracteolata, S. dealbata, S. hypochra, S. javanica, S. lamellata, S. maranti ||White Meranti || ||light hardwood |
|Shorea sect. Richetia ||S. acuminatissima, S. faguetiana, S. gibbosa, S. hopeifolia, S. multiflora ||Yellow Meranti || ||light hardwood |
|Shorea sect. Rubroshorea ||S. curtisii, S. hemsleyana, S. macrantha, S. pauciflora, S. platyclados, S. rugosa, S. singkawang, 4 other spp. ||Dark red Meranti (Meranti bukit) || ||light hardwood |
|S. acuminata, S. dasyphylla, S. johorensis, S. lepidota, S. parvifolia ||Light red Meranti || ||light hardwood |
|S. balangeran, S. collina, S. guiso, S. kunstleri, S. ochrophloia, S. plagata ||Red Balau || ||heavy hardwood |
|Shorea ||S. macroptera ||Melantai || ||light hardwood |
|Shorea ||S. negrosensis ||Red Lauan ||dark red-brown to brick red || |
|Shorea ||S. ovata ||Tianong ||light red to light red-brown || |
|Shorea ||S. platyclados ||Meranti Bukit || ||light hardwood |
|Shorea ||S. polysperma ||Tanguile ||red to red-brown || |
|Shorea ||S. robusta ||Sal || || |
|Shorea ||S. squamata ||Mayapis ||light red to red-brown || |
|Shorea ||S. uliginosa ||Meranti Bakau || ||light hardwood |
- Ashton, P.S. Dipterocarpaceae. Flora Malesiana, 1982 Series I, 92: 237-552.
- Maury-Lechon, G. and Curtet, L. Biogeography and Evolutionary Systematics of Dipterocarpaceae. In A Review of Dipterocarps: Taxonomy, ecology and silviculture, 1998. Appanah, S. and Turnbull, J.M. eds. Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia. ISBN 979-8764-20-X.
- Dayanandan, S. Ashton, P.S. Williams, S.M. Primack, R.B. 1999. Phylogeny of the tropical tree family Dipterocarpaceae based on nucleotide sequences of the chloroplast RBCL gene. American Journal of Botany. 86(8): 1182.
- M. Ducousso, G. Béna, C. Bourgeois, B. Buyck, G. Eyssartier, M. Vincelette, R. Rabevohitra, L. Randrihasipara, B. Dreyfus, Y. Prin. The last common ancestor of Sarcolaenaceae and Asian dipterocarp trees was ectomycorrhizal before the India-Madagascar separation, about 88 million years ago. Molecular Ecology 13: 231 January 2004.
A Review of Dipterocarps: Taxonomy, ecology and silviculture (PDF version) (http://www.cifor.cgiar.org/publications/pdf_files/Books/Dipterocarps.pdf)