Sterculia oblongata (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Sterculia oblongata R. Br.

Protologue: Benn., R.Br. & Horsf., Pl. jav. rar. 3: 232 (1844).
Family: Sterculiaceae


  • Sterculia spectabilis Miq. (1861),
  • Sterculia kunstleri King (1891),
  • Sterculia forbesii Warb. (1923),
  • Sterculia urceolata auct. non J.E. Smith.

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: kalumpang (Sumatra), hantap (Sundanese, Java), lomes (Sulawesi)
  • Malaysia: kalumpang, biris, melabu (Sarawak)
  • Philippines: malabuho, bakau, balinad (general), saripongpong (Bikol).


Widely distributed in the Philippines, but rare. Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali, Sumbawa, Flores), Borneo and Sulawesi.


The wood is used for house construction, particularly for sides, ceilings and partitions, for matches, and is also suitable for pulp and paper manufacture. The fibres in the bark are used for the manufacture of ropes and elegant hats, handbags, place-mats and wallets. The seeds are eaten raw or roasted.


  • A medium-sized to large tree up to 50 m tall, with bole up to 150 cm in diameter, with small or large buttresses up to 6 m high and 2 m wide, bark surface smooth or profusely and irregularly scaly, lenticellate, grey, inner bark fibrous, yellowish-brown to purplish or reddish-brown, twigs slender, 3-5 mm in diameter.
  • Leaves simple and entire, ovate to oblong or oblong-elliptical, sometimes slightly obovate, (7-)9-24(-36) cm × (3-)4-11(-27) cm, rounded to subcordate at base, rarely acute, glabrous, petiole 2-7(-11) cm long, stipules caducous.
  • Inflorescence axillary or subterminal, paniculate, erect and many-branched.
  • Calyx with urceolate (sometimes campanulate) tube glabrous inside and 5 lanceolate, converging lobes at most as long as the tube with coherent apices, male flowers with 6-8(-10) anthers.
  • Follicles 2-3(-4), oblong, 4-8 cm long, inflated, hairy, reddish, containing 4-6 seeds.
  • Seed ellipsoid, 1-2.5 cm long, dark brown or black.

S. oblongata occurs in primary and secondary forest on flat land, ridges and hills up to 1550 m altitude. In Sarawak it is found in mixed dipterocarp forest on deep, relatively fertile clay-rich soils overlying volcanic and igneous, basic to slightly acidic rocks. Flowering in September-October. The wood is buff-coloured, pinkish-white or pink. The density is 165-400 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content.

Selected sources

  • Brown, W.H., 1951-1957. Useful plants of the Philippines. Reprint of the 1941-1943 ed. 3 Volumes. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Technical Bulletin 10. Bureau of Printing, Manila, the Philippines.
  • FAO, 1984. Food and fruit-bearing forest species 2: examples from Southeastern Asia. FAO Forestry paper 44/2, Rome. 167 pp.
  • Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna, (various editors), 1986. Vol. 1-4. Natural Resources Management Center, Ministry of Natural Resources & University of the Philippines, Manila, the Philippines.
  • Merrill, E.D., 1923-1925. An enumeration of Philippine flowering plants. 4 Volumes. Government of the Philippine Islands, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bureau of Printing, Manila.

26, 35, 99, 125, 140, 150, 234, 414, 527, 632, 705. timbers


  • P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jukema, L.P.A. Oyen, T.G. van Lingen