Teak

Tectona grandis (Lamiaceae)

Characteristics

Teak trees can usually grow to a very impressive size, and they can grow uninterrupted in some cases for over 1000 years.

  • Tree Size – 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall
  • Trunk diameter – 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m)
  • Janka Hardness – 1,070 lbf (4,740 N)
  • Average Dried Weight – 41 lbs/ft3 (655 kg/m3)
  • Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC) – .55, .66
  • Crushing Strength – 7,940 lbf/in2 (54.8 MPa)
  • Modulus of Rupture – 14,080 lbf/in2 (97.1 MPa)
  • Elastic Modulus – 1,781,000 lbf/in2 (12.28 GPa)
  • Shrinkage: Radial – 2.6%, Tangential: 5.3%, Volumetric: 7.2%, T/R Ratio: 2.0
  • Odor – Mild, leathery odor during cutting
  • Workability – Easy
  • Texture – Coase and uneven texture with low to moderate natural luster level.

Distribution

A plant of the tropics, where it is found at elevations from sea level to 1,200 metres. It is able to survive and grow under a wide range of climatic and edaphic conditions, but grows best in a warm, moist, tropical climate with a significant difference between dry and wet season .It is found in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 14 – 36°c The tree can be killed by temperatures falling down to 3°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall: of 1,200 – 2,500mm, but is able to succeed with as little as 600mm, or as much as 4,000mm.

Natural Medicine Properties

A wood tar paste is made from the powdered wood by putting it into hot water. It is vermifuge; promotes digestion; is effective in relieving bilious headaches and tooth aches; reduces inflammations or eruptions of the skin.
The charred wood, soaked in poppy juice and made into a paste, has been used to relieve the swelling of the eyelids.
The wood has been used as a hair tonic.
An oil extracted from the roots is used to treat eczema, ringworms and inflammation.
The bark has been used as an astringent and in the treatment of bronchitis.
The flowers are diuretic. They are used to treat biliousness, bronchitis and urinary disorders.
The seeds are diuretic.
An oil extracted from the seeds promotes hair growth.
The leaves have a reputation of being diuretic, depurative, purgative, stimulant, antidysenteric and vermifuge. They are used in traditional medicine to treat anaemia, asthenia, fever and malaria, amoebiasis, schistosomiasis and tuberculosis.
Extracts of the leaves are reported to be effective against mycobacterium tuberculosis, to treat bleeding of larynx, trachea, bronchi, or lungs, and sore throat.
An oil extracted from the tender shoots is used against scabies in children.

Did you know?

The wood has been used as a hair tonic.

Further reading:

Literature

World Flora Online
WorldChecklist of Selected Plant Families
A working list of all plant species