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Exbucklandia populnea (R.Br. ex Griff.) R. W. Brown (Hamamelidaceae)
by Syazwani Azeman
Newsletter
Exbucklandia populnea (R.Br. ex Griff.) R. W. Brown (Hamamelidaceae)
by Syazwani Azeman

Exbucklandia populnea, known locally as gerok in Malay, was named for William Buckland (1784-1856), the renowned British geologist/palaeontologist (Veldkamp,1998). It is a polygamous-monoecious evergreen tree in the Hamamelidaceae, the Witch Hazel family. This family consists of 22 genera and 80 species. Exbucklandia populnea grows in lower montane rain forest and is common from the South-east Himalayas to South China and southwards throughout Malesia. In Peninsular Malaysia, Hamamelidaceae is represented by six genera each with only one species (Corner, 1988).

Exbucklandia populnea is a common tree on the crests and upper hillsides in lower montane forest in Cameron Highlands and Fraser’s Hill, Pahang. It grows well in the hill and mountain forests, mainly from 1000–3000 m altitude. It can grow to 36 m tall with a diameter at breast height of 30–40 cm or sometimes more. The bark is dark-brown with a fissured and flaky texture. Its leaves are alternate, glabrous on both surfaces and broadly ovate with 5–7 veins radiating from the base. The leaves quiver on their long stalks like those of aspens, species of Populus, hence its specific name (Hou,1958). The young leaves are easily recognized by their tri-lobed shape. The large, appressed stipules, oriented skyward that hide the bud and developing leaf blade also make this plant easy to identify. The flowers are small, without sepals but with 2–7 petals, 10–14 yellowish cream stamens joined in bractless heads of 7–20. The individual fruits are roundish, woody with 2 chambers and 4 valves. The seeds are narrowly ovoid, flattened and wingless.

The tree is exploited in the wild for its good timber which is used for planking, door and window frames. The provisional conservation status for this species is widespread (Turner, 1995).

References

  1. Corner, E.J.H. (1988). Wayside Trees of Malaya 3rd ed., Volume 1, Issue/No. . The Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. pp. 180-181, 361-363, 391.
  2. Hou, D. (1958). Hamamelidaceae. Flora Malesiana. Series 1 - Spermatophyta , volume 5. pp. 374-376
  3. Turner, I. (1995). A Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Malaya. The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 47 (1 & 2): pp. 265
  4. Veldkamp, J.F. (1998). Exbucklandia vs. Symingtonia (Hamamelidaceae). Rheedea 8 (2): pp. 159-161
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