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Shorea macrophylla - (de Vriese) P.S.Ashton

Common Name Light Red Meranti, Engkabang, False Ilipe Nut
Family Dipterocarpaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A canopy tree, locally abundant in mixed dipterocarp forest, growing on clay-rich periodically flooded alluvium and river banks, uncommon on hillsides, at elevations below 600 metres[451 , 899 ].
Range Southeast Asia - Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia (the tree is endemic to the island of Borneo).
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Shorea macrophylla Light Red Meranti, Engkabang, False Ilipe Nut

Ahmad Fuad Morad flickr.com
Shorea macrophylla Light Red Meranti, Engkabang, False Ilipe Nut
Ahmad Fuad Morad flickr.com


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Shorea macrophylla, otherwise known as Light Red Meranti, Engkabang or False Ilipe Nut, is a large tropical plant belonging in the Dipterocarpaceae family. It is endemic to Borneo. It has a dense, oblong to hemispherical crown, irregular bole that branches from fairly low down, and short buttresses. It grows up to 45 m in height and 150 cm in bole diameter. The seeds are ovoid and yield edible fat which can also be used to treat skin conditions or in making soap, candles, polishes, and cosmetics. The timber is of high quality and used for several purposes including panelling, joinery, light carpentry, boxes and crates, and veneer.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Shorea macrophylla is an evergreen Tree growing to 35 m (114ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Hopea macrophylla de Vriese Pachychlamys gysbertsiana Ridl. Shorea bakeriana Heim Shorea gysbertsian

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

An edible fat obtained from the seeds has similar uses to Cacao butter (obtained from Theobroma spp.)[370 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

An edible fat obtained from the seed is easily absorbed by the skin. It can be used to treat skin problems and is often used as a carrier to apply other substances to the skin[370 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Cosmetic  Lighting  Oil  Polish  Soap making  Wood

Other Uses: The seeds of many species in this genus, including this species, yield an oil that has an unusually high melting point and is solid at room temperature[317 , 370 , 884 , 899 ]. Average yields range from 45 - 70% according to species[370 ]. The fat is somewhat similar to Cacao butter (obtained from Theobroma spp.) and can be used in a variety of ways, often combined with cacao butter. In addition to it being edible, it has medicinal uses and can be used in making soap, candles, polishes and cosmetics[370 , 899 ]. The obovoid seeds are around 6cm long and 4cm wide[899 ]. The tree provides a high quality timber[370 ]. The wood is a source of 'Light Red Meranti'. We do not have any more specific information, but a general description of light red meranti follows:- The heartwood is light red to pink or pink-brown, with white resin streaks; it is clearly demarcated from the 5 - 8cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain interlocked with a ribbon-like aspect; the surface is lustrous. The wood is light in weight, soft, moderately durable, being resistant to dry wood borers, somewhat resistant to fungi and susceptible to termites. The wood seasons well with a slight risk of checking or distortion; once dry it is stable to moderately stable in service. The wood works well with normal tools, though the tools need to be kept sharp because it has a tendency towards woolliness; it generally finishes fairly well, though filling is recommended; screwing and nailing are good; gluing is correct. The wood is used for several purposes including interior and exterior panelling and joinery, light carpentry, boxes and crates, veneer etc[848 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of lowland areas in the moist tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 600 metres[451 ]. Plants are tolerant of periodically inundated soils[451 ]. This species is one of the fastest growing trees in the genus[338 ]. Yields of 1,138 kg/ha of dried kernels have been reported[370 ]. The tree does not start to bear fruit until it is 18 - 25 years old[370 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

We have no specific information for this species - the information below is a general guide for the genus. Seed - best sown as soon as possible. It does not require pre-treatment, but it is recommended to soak the seed for 12 hours prior to sowing[325 ]. The seeds are sown in seedbeds, where they are covered with a mixture of sand and soil (1:1) or with a thin layer of sawdust[325 ]. Germination of fresh seeds is usually good and rapid. About two weeks after germination, when the seedlings are 5 - 6cm tall, they are potted up into individual containers about 15 x 23cm with good drainage holes at their base[325 ]. It is normally recommended to use a mixture of forest soil and sand (at a ratio of 3:1) as the potting medium in order to introduce the appropriate mycorrhiza to the roots. The seedlings are placed in 50 - 60% sunlight and watered twice daily[325 ]. Seedlings can be planted out when 30 - 40cm tall - harden the seedlings off in full sunlight for one month prior to planting[325 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Light Red Meranti, Engkabang, False Ilipe Nut

Malaysia, Asia, Australia, Borneo, China, Indonesia, SE Asia,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Vulnerable A1cd

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(de Vriese) P.S.Ashton

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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Subject : Shorea macrophylla  
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