Characteristics of Johnstone River Teak Tree (Intsia bijuga) in the Wild

Intsia bijuga
Johnstone river teak or Pacific teak (Intsia bijuga) is a flowering tree species in the Fabaceae family that originates from the Indo-Pacific. Its distribution in the same was first estimated from Tanzania and eastern Madagascar than to India, Australia, then to other Pacific islands.

Merbau trees occupy the area around the mangrove forest. The tree also has various names including Merbau, Jati Laut, Ifit, Taal, Ipil, Kwila, Johnstone River Teak, Pacific Teak, and Mahogany Scrub.

According to Greenpeace, a large amount of the Johnstone River teak sourced from illegal logging is being imported into China. Greenpeace is targeting users in Western countries to stop trading in the Johnstone river teak. Greenpeace claims that at the current rate of logging, the tree will become extinct within the next 30 years.

In New Zealand, efforts to stop the import have been made. Although Jim Anderton (who was the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry at the time) did not support the ban and instead left it to the consumer’s choice.


Characteristics of Johnstone River Teak Leaf

Intsia bijuga Leaf
Source : B. Friday

The leaves are compound, consisting of 4-6 leaflets, round or ovoid.


Characteristics of Johnstone River Teak Flower

Intsia bijuga Flower
Source : B. Friday

The flowers are panicles, white, and smell nice.


Characteristics of Johnstone River Teak Fruit

Intsia bijuga Fruit
Source : B. Friday

Pod-shaped fruit, each pod containing 3-8 seeds.


Characteristics of the Johnstone River Teak Tree

Intsia bijuga Tree
Source : B. Friday

The Johnstone river teak tree can reach 45-50 meters high and with a trunk diameter of 1.5-2 meters. It is often found growing on sandy or rocky soils, near the beach, in the brackish forest, or on the banks of rivers and primary forests.

Johnstone river teak is included as good quality wood because it is classified in a strong and durable class. The strong Johnstone river teak is widely used as wooden floors, railroad pads, and expensive furniture.


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