The Teak Tree, Its Cultivation and Uses
The Teak Tree [Tectona grandis] is a large tree which can grow larger than 130 feet. It has large ovate-elliptic leaves that can be over 15 inches in length. Teak trees have white flowers that bloom between the months of June and August. Teak trees also set fruit from September to December. Their fruits are globose and about 1.5 centimeters in diameter. Teak flowers are pollinated primarily by insects, however wind pollination does occur occasionally. It is thought that bees play a major role in the pollination of teak flowers.
Distribution and Habitat of Teak Trees:
Tectona Grandis or teak is native to India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, northern Thailand, and northwestern Laos. It is naturalized in other regions of the world, including; Africa, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Tectona Grandis can survive and grow in a wide range of climatic conditions. It grows in arid regions with little rain fall, as well as very moist forests where rain is common.
Cultivation of Teak Wood:
The majority of teak is grown and harvested on teak plantations in Indonesia. Its cultivation is controlled by Perum Perhutani, which is a state owned forest enterprise. The primary use for teak is for the production of outdoor teak furniture for export. Teak is a yellow-brown timber that is well know for its fine grains and texture. The teak tree naturally produce its own teak oils, which allows it to survive in harsh conditions. The teak oil is also pest resistant. This prevents termite infestations from occurring on growing and harvested teak wood.
Uses of Teak Wood:
Teak is used for a variety of different purposes throughout the world. It is commonly used for building houses in some areas, however much of its use is associated with furniture, decks and kitchen utensils. Boat owners utilize teak for its durability and its non-slip attributes. Teak is widely used for outdoor furniture for similar reasons. When treated properly, teak is comfortable and soft to the touch and it does very well when exposed to the elements. It is thought that patio furniture made of teak can out last all other types of wood.
Conservation and Environmental Issues:
A major concern is that rare old growth teak trees will disappear with the increase of harvesting wild trees. This is alleviated with the use of teak plantations that harvest the trees for specific export purposes. A raising issue related to teak plantations is the issue of sustainability. The Forest Stewardship Council is helping to certify those farmers that practice sustainable teak harvesting techniques so that the teak wood industry can continue to produce this high quality wood.