Monday, 21 January 2013

Hopea odorata

Hopea odorata, also known as Ironwood, Chengal Kampong or Chengal Pasir is native to Bangladesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Indo-China, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is part of the Dipterocarpaceae family.

A large evergreen tree that has a conical shaped crown reaches a height of 40m. 

The leaves are alternate and are oblong to ovate in shape with an entire leaf margin. Its simple leaves are about 10-20 cm long. 

Its small, yellow flowers are fragrant and located in leaf axils or branch tips. They are radially symmetrical with triangular petals. Its pedicels are up to 3 mm long. 

The small, brown fruit is a winged nut. The single-seeded nut is approximately egg-shaped with a pointed tip. It has 2 long wings about 5.5 cm long and 3 short wings which promote seed dispersal by wind. The texture of the seed is smooth. The fruit contains only one seed. 

This species is used to treat a variety of ailments, such as diarrhoea, and gum inflammation. It is also used to help wounds and sores heal. The wood is not easy to cut, but it is very durable and strong. It is often used to make boats and canoes.

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