Koompassia excelsa (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Koompassia excelsa (Becc.) Taubert

Protologue: Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 3, 3: 156 (1892).


  • Koompassia parvifolia Prain ex King (1897).


Southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, north-eastern Sumatra, Borneo and Palawan.


The timber is used as tualang. The wood is sometimes used as firewood. The bark is used medicinally.


  • A very large tree up to 85 m tall with a buttressed columnar bole up to 25 m long and 100 cm in diameter but sometimes reaching 290 cm, bark quite smooth, hooped, shiny, purplish-grey, commonly tinged delicate fluorescent green, especially upwards, crown made up of many smaller sub-crowns.
  • Leaves with 7-12(-17) leaflets of 3-4.2 cm × 1-1.7 cm.
  • Flowers small, sepals and petals up to 3 mm long, ovary oblong, glabrous.
  • Pod 7.5-12.5 cm long.

K. excelsa is a common but usually not very abundant species which in Peninsular Malaysia is strangely absent south of the line connecting Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan. It holds the record for the tallest recorded broadleaf rain forest tree and is the sixth tallest of all trees. Solitary trees standing alone in the open are encountered comparatively often because they are difficult to cut and because local people harvest honey from the many bee nests usually present in the crown. See also the table on wood properties.

Selected sources

42, 45, 46, 73, 89, 100, 102, 146, 159, 183, 185, 190, 200, 237, 239, 252, 297, 298, 359, 426, 428, 448, 506, 559, 578, 581, 601, 609, 614, 626, 779, 784, 806.

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  • Wan Razali Wan Mohd (selection of species)