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Buttress Root



Photos Courtesy of Bryan Nelson -

Buttress Root     Koompassia Exelsa

Buttress Root has unique colored layers.  A very creative turner can make some neat decorative items from this wood.  Also known as Tualang (Tapang), or Mengaris, is an emergent tropical rainforest tree species in the Fabaceae family. It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. It is one of the tallest tropical tree species: the tallest measured specimen is 289 ft tall.

Tualangs grow mostly in lowland rain forests where they tower over the canopy. Like most tall rain forest trees it has huge buttress roots to support its weight. This is because the majority of the nutrients in rain forest soil are very near the surface, making large spreading roots more effective than deep ones.

Tualangs grow branches above the canopy around 100 ft and have slippery trunks, which makes them attractive to giant honey bees who hang their huge combs from the branches. The bees protect the trees from loggers, as the value of the honey is higher than that of the timber. There is also a taboo against felling the tree in parts of Sarawak, and only naturally felled trees (due to storms) are used for timber.
Source Region:  Indonesia