There is a vast, deciduous tree known as Tectona. Tectona grandis is now one of the most significant tropical hardwood tree species from the Lamiaceae family. Seeds are found anywhere from 0 to 4 per fruit.
Even though it has been used for millennia in woodworking, the initial categorisation in scientific texts may be traced back to 1782. There was an enormous commercial exploitation period for this tree, which resulted in the loss of many old forests that were home to some of the most stunning specimens of this tree, known as “Burmese teak” in the Southeast Asian woods where it grows.
As of today, Tectonas can be found growing in forests and plantations worldwide in countries like India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh. In Indonesia, the state-owned foresting company Perum Perhutani controls the most extensive plantations where this tree is grown. Nilambur in Kerala, India, is home to the world’s second-largest teak timber-producing facility. Thai teak forests were decimated over a long period by intensive commercial exploitation. Plantations of industrial teak may be found worldwide, including in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and South America (including Costa Rica).
Importance for the economy
- It’s resistant to fungus, and it has a long life span. Poles, beams, and other structural components like trusses and columns are made from this material. It is also used for flooring, planks, panels, and stairs—the ideal wood for creating furniture, cabinets, waggons and trains. Teak is a popular choice for decking on boats and ships because of its ability to retain its form better than other woods.
- Teak is used in musical instrument soundboards, keys, other parts, and other types of plywood.
- Chipboards, fiberboards, and plastic boards are made from wood waste such as sawdust and wood shavings.
- About 6% of the leaves’ tannin and dye are found in these plants, also used for thatching. Eczema is treated using a distilled oil made from wood chips. Splitting headaches can be relieved using a plaster made from powdered wood.
- Oil from the kernels is used to treat scabies and stimulate hair growth. Flowers can be utilised to treat biliousness, bronchitis, and urinary tract infections. Diuretics include both flowers and seeds. The Ayurvedic system views wood as a laxative, uterus-calming sedative, helpful treatment for diarrhoea, dysentery, and leucoderma, among other ailments. When it came to urinary tract issues, roots were employed. Bark has been used to treat diabetes for centuries.
- In the production of paper and textiles, dyes are derived from the root bark and young leaves. Yellow-brown or red-brown dyes can be used. Leaf-based dyes are commonly used to colour cloth, particularly wool and cotton. Sawdust is used as incense in the Java region of Indonesia.
Many of teak’s nearby cousins are also suitable for the production of high-quality commercial timber, as they are members of the vast Lamiaceae family tree. Tropical hardwood trees of the genus Tectonas are found in the following species:
A species of teak native to South and Southeast Asia is known as Tectona grandis (standard teak).
Daha teak is a species of Tectona hamiltonian, an endangered species that grows in Burma.
Additionally, teak is recognised for its additional therapeutic aspects of the inner structure and through attracting wildlife gathered for use in home medicines. Several varieties of moth larvae rely on teak leaves as a source of food.
It is also possible to eat teak leaves and bark. In the Tulunadu district of South India, jackfruit dumplings known as “Pellakai Gatti” are made using these leaves. In Central Java, Indonesia, leaves are often used to season food.