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Coelostegia griffithii

by Nadiah Idris

Coelostegia griffithii is a member of the Bombacaceae or durian family. It is a large tree up to 45 m tall with large plank buttresses up to 3.5 m high. The genus Coelostegia is closely related to the genus Durio and can be distinguished from Durio by the fruits and seeds. The fruits of C. griffithii are woody and hard, usually densely armed with angular spines and split loculicidally (along the center line of each locule) up to 2/3 of its length before falling from the tree. Seeds of C. griffithii are small and usually carunculate (possessing an outgrowth near the hilum). The inflorescences are paniculate and densely set with complex peltate (umbrella-like) scales. The flower buds are pinkish green when young and light pink when mature (fresh specimen).

C. griffithii is distributed throughout Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Singapore and Borneo. It grows in mixed dipterocarp and kerangas or heath forest, sometimes in poorly drained or semi-swampy soil, often associated with terentang (Campnosperma spp.) at a wide range of elevations up to1,393 m.

In Peninsular Malaysia, the common name of this species is punggai, durian badak or durian tuang. The wood is used for making clogs, coffins, furniture and for indoor construction . The bark is used in the tanning industry and to dye fishing nets.

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