Other Common Names: Milkwood (Papua New Guinea), Dita (Philippines), Shaitan wood (India), Mo Cua (Vietnam), Basong (Malaya), Mergalang (Sarawak), Milky pine, White cheesewood (Australia).
Distribution: Throughout the Indo-Malayan region, Australia, and Polynesia. Varying with species, found on dry land and swampy sites.
The Tree: Clear straight boles 40 to 50 ft in length, sometimes reaching 90 ft; diameters commonly 3 to 4 ft. Stems are characteristically fluted; sometimes buttressed.
General Characteristics: Sapwood yellowish white to pale brown; not differentiated from heartwood; texture moderately fine to somewhat coarse; grain mostly straight, sometimes interlocked; quite lustrous; without characteristic odor or taste when dry. Has large slit-like latex canals.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.34 to 0.40; air- dry density 25 to 30 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
Green (9) 5,130 900 2,790
6% 7,480 1,060 4,560
Green (34) 5,800 960 3,120
Janka side hardness 380 lb for green material and 460 lb for dry. Green Forest Products Laboratory toughness 179 in.-lb (5/8-in. specimen).
Drying and Shrinkage: The wood is reported to be easy to air dry with little or no degrade. Kiln schedule T10-D4S is suggested for 4/4 stock. Shrinkage green to overdry: radial 3.4%; tangential 6.1%.
Working Properties: Very easy to work by hand and machine tools; cuts smoothly; turns well. Peels easily on a rotary lathe. Nails well.
Durability: Prone to stain, decay, and insect attack. Very susceptible to attack by powder-post beetles.
Preservation: At least one species is reported to absorb preservatives very readily.
Uses: Patternmaking, boxes and crates, carving, veneer and plywood, interior trim, furniture components. Root wood of A. spathulata once used for "pith" helmets.
Additional Reading: (9), (12), (34), (47)
9. Burgess, P. F. 1966. Timbers of Sabah. Sabah For. Rec. No. 6.
12. Douay, J. 1956. Gmelina arborea (Roxb.). Monographie Bois For. Trop. 48:25 38.
34. Lauricio, F. M., and S. B. Bellosillo. 1966. The mechanical and related properties of Philippine woods. The Lumberman 12(5):66 +A-H.
47. Pearson, R. S., and H. P. Brown. 1932. Commercial timbers of India. Gov. of India Central Publ. Br., Calcutta.
From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.