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Shorea obtusa - Wall. ex Blume

Common Name Taengwood Balau, teng
Family Dipterocarpaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry, deciduous, dipterocarp forests, deciduous monsoon forests and open, dry degraded areas like mixed savannah forests at elevations from 200 - 1,000 metres[404 ].
Range Southeast Asia - Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Shorea obtusa Taengwood Balau, teng

Shorea obtusa Taengwood Balau, teng


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Found in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, Shorea obtusa is a deciduous tropical tree growing in relatively dry areas, reaching a height of about 10- 30 m and bole diameter of up to 60 cm. The flowers are yellow that droop in clusters. The plant yields a very hard timber, which is used for construction purposes, with high commercial value. The trunk also yields resin for local and medicinal uses. In particular, it is used in the treatment of wounds, ulcers, dysentery, etc. The resin is also used for caulking boats and baskets, and in making traditional torches.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Shorea obtusa is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


This name is unresolved.


Edible Uses

None known

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.
Antibiotic  Dysentery  Malaria

A resin obtained from the tree is antibiotic. It is used in the treatment of wounds, ulcers etc[404 , 730 ]. It is also recommended as a cure for dysentery[404 ]. The bark is used to treat malaria[404 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Furniture  Lighting  Resin  Waterproofing  Wood

Other Uses: The bark has a high tannin content[404 ]. A yellowish resin exudes from the bark. It is used for caulking baskets and boats and to make a traditional torch[404 , 730 ]. The heartwood is brown, turning to dark brown or dark reddish brown, often with fine dark lines; the narrow band of sapwood is pale yellow to pale brownish-white. Texture is medium, the grain interlocked and lustre is dull. The wood is heavy, very hard and durable, especially in the open and in contact with water. Sawing is reported to be rather difficult, mostly due to the high resin content; the wood works quite smooth; it is slightly susceptible to surface cracking and end splitting. However, untreated sleepers have lasted for 15 years[404 ]. The wood is used for construction works, bridges, piles, ship-building, framing of boats, utility and garden furniture, interior uses such as parquet flooring, heavy-duty flooring, window- and door frames. It is also very valuable for railway sleepers[404 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of tropical monsoon climates, where it grows at an elevation up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas with a mean annual precipitation of 1,250 - 2,000mm, with a well pronounced wet season and a dry season of up to 6 months. However, it can also grow with less than 1,250mm[404 ]. Requires a sunny position[404 ]. It grows well on well-drained sandy soils, rocky soils, lateritic soils, including ferric acrisols, gleyic acrisols, and ferralic cambisols. Unlike the majority of dipterocarps, it can survive even on very poor soils and rocky areas[404 ]. An acid to neutral pH is suitable[404 ]. In Cambodia it is often found on gray soil on shale[404 ]. The plant is adapted to growing in areas where fires are common in the dry season[404 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed. The viability of freshly collected seeds is low and after screening out those attacked by insects and clipping the wings, they are sown right away into shaded nursery beds. Survival percentage has been reported to be 65 - 75%[404 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Taengwood Balau, teng, ngae, chik, pra-choek, thitya, phchok, chaf.

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Cambodia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Thailand; Viet Nam

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: Lower Risk/least concern

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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.


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Wall. ex Blume

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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