by Style

Tualang Tree


Tualang tree is known as one of the tallest trees that grows inside the rainforest of Southeast Asia. Tualang tree can reach 80 meters high. Tualang trees can be found growing in the lowland rainforests of southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, northern Sumatra, and Borneo. Their habitat is the primary tropical rainforests. They prefer moist locations along the rivers, in the valleys and lower slopes.

In Aceh, Jambi and Palembang, Tualang tree is owned by the community together accordance to local or tribe law. Its height made it become a tree that favored by honey bees. Based on the official law, Tualang tree is also protected by the state law.

Tualang tree in Indonesian language mostly called as pokok tualang, pohon kempas, or kayu raja. Bee group that often found nesting at Tualang tree is Apis Dorsata, the giant honey bee of South and Southeast Asia.

Beside as one of the tallest trees in the world, Tualang tree is also one of the most prominent trees in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. Its grey color, whitish bark of the tree, large bole, and huge crown makes it stand out amongst the other trees. Tualang tree can grow up to 70 meters tall.

So lucky, Tualang tree is not dipterocarpaceae, its wood is not as hard as trees that grouped into dipterocarp such as Damar tree (Agathis Dammara) and Pohon Tengkawang or Meranti tree (Shorea sp.) which has a very high commercial value that mostly ended under hand of logging companies. Another reason why Tualang tree survives from logging, because many locals believe this tree is inhabited by spirits and black magic.

Kingdom: Plantae, (Unranked): Angiosperms, (Unranked): Eudicots, (Unranked): Rosids, Order: Fabales, Family: Fabaceae, Genus: Koompassia, Species: Koompassia Excelsa.

Bornean &
Sabah Specimens

Tualang trees can grow more than 80 meters in height, but this is largely limited to Bornean specimens; more specifically Sabah specimens. Sabah’s rich volcanic soil (in the eastern half) produces very tall and large trees of all species; not just limited to Tualang tree. However, sadly, as most of Sabah and Kalimantan have already been logged out, there is really no way now to find out if tualang trees that exceed 90 meters in height.