Characteristics of Gadog Tree (Bischofia javanica) in the Wild

Bischofia javanica
Gadog (Bischofia javanica) is a species of tree from the Phyllanthaceae tribe, whose distribution starts from India, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia. Common names used by people in Indonesia to refer to this tree are Sikam, Singkam, Cingkam, Tingkeuëm, Tingkeum, Kerinjing, Geronjing, Bintungan, Gintungan, Gintung, Gĕntung, Gelintungan, Gadog, Ki maung, Marintĕk, Kayawu, and Simamo.

In Southeast Asia, this tree is called Jitang, Tuai (Malaysia), Toem, Pradu-som (Thailand), ‘Khom’ fat (Laos), and Nhoi (Vietnam). In Assam, India, this tree is called Uriam and is known to be often used by tigers to mark its territory through the claws on its trunk.

In the timber trade, gadog wood is known as Bishop wood or Java cedar.

Gadog trees generally grow in areas that have a clear dry season at an altitude of 0-1,800 m asl. This tree is quite common but is scattered in primary and secondary forests. The gadog tree is often found not far from creeks, in shady valleys, and likes to grow on loose and deep soil, loamy, sandy, or rocky, with sufficient water content or which occasionally stagnates. Occasionally the tree is found growing over limestone areas.

This tree was introduced to East Africa and South Africa as a fast-growing ornamental tree. Also, it was introduced to North America where this tree later turned into a weed.


Gadog trees produce good quality and beautiful wood. However, so far there are no statistical records of this timber trade at the international level, even though gadog is classified as commercial timber in Papua New Guinea.

Gadog wood is quite durable if it is protected from the effects of the weather, and can be used to make furniture. In addition, gadog wood can also be used to make carvings, pencils, veneers, and plywood, as well as pulp and paper.

Gadog wood is classified as medium to hardwood, with medium to heavyweight (density 520-1,010 kg/m³ at 15% moisture content). The terraces are brown-red to brown-purple, clearly distinguished from the sapwood, which is brown-gray or pale brown. The texture of the wood is rather rough and even, with the direction of the fibers being generally blended and sometimes wavy. The surface of the wood is slightly dull to slightly shiny, slightly rough to slightly slippery. In the radial plane, alternating dark and light paths are faintly visible, which are caused by the blending of the fiber directions.

Gadog wood is classified as strong class I-III (average II), and durable class II-III. Its resistance to termites is classified as class IV, while wood rot fungi are class II-IV.


Gadog wood is very difficult to dry because it is easy to crack, break, and deform, it is not recommended to be processed into thin boards. The shrinkage of gadog wood to air dryness is around 1.8% in the radial direction and 4.1% in the tangential direction, while up to dry kiln the shrinkage reaches 3.9% in the radial direction and 7.5% in the tangential direction. Drying without a gadog kiln with a thickness of 2 cm from a fresh state to a moisture content of 30% takes 64 days.

The heartwood is difficult to preserve, but the sapwood is easy.


Characteristics of Gadog Leaf

Bischofia javanica Leaf

The leaves are arranged in a spiral, pinnate compound with three leaves, glabrous, stems 8-20 cm. Leaves oblong triangular, like paper, 7-22 mm, fall quickly. The leaflets are oblong to oval in shape, 6-16 cm × 3-10 cm, the tip is tapered, the edges are serrated to finely toothed, the leaves are pinnate, the upper side is glossy, the leaflets are long-stemmed ends.


Characteristics of Gadog Flower

Bischofia javanica Flower

Flowers unisexual, regular, numbered-5, small, greenish, without a crown. Male flowers are gathered in panicles 9-20 cm long in the armpits. The female flower panicles are about 15-27 cm long.


Characteristics of Gadog Fruit

Bischofia javanica Fruit

The fruit is round, 1.2-1.5 cm in diameter, bluish-black when ripe, with 1-2 seeds in each space. Seeds are brown, oval, 5 mm long.


Characteristics of Gadog Tree

Bischofia javanica Tree
Source: Forlonge

Gadog is a deciduous tree, medium to very large, up to 40 meters high, the tallest up to 50 meters, and the trunk echoes 1-1.4 meters. Trunk straight or slightly swollen-bent, short branch-free stems, but sometimes it reaches 20 meters, occasionally, some have narrow buttresses up to 3 meters high. Pepagan is cracked and scaly, reddish-brown to purplish on the outside, pink on the inside, fibrous and spongy, secreting a clear, watery, or slightly jelly-like red sap. The title is tightly rounded.


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