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Aglaia korthalsii Miq. (Meliaceae)
by Mrs. Syazwani Bt. Azeman
Newsletter
Aglaia korthalsii Miq. (Meliaceae)
by Mrs. Syazwani Bt. Azeman

Commonly known as kriah, sekriah or keriat in Malay, Aglaia korthalsii is a member of the family Meliaceae, which includes some common species such as sentul (Sandoricum koetjape) and sentang (Azadirachta excelsa). Aglaia korthalsii is named after P.W. Korthals, a Dutch botanist and traveler. In Peninsular Malaysia, this tree can be found in all states except Perlis, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka. It grows in lowland dipterocarp forest up to 340 m above sea level (Mabberley & Pannell, 2013).

It is a small to medium tree, up to 26 m tall with a bole of up to 70 cm diameter. The bark is pale to dark reddish-brown or pinkish-brown to grey in colour, with dark greenish-pink and pink inner bark. It has compound leaves comprised of leaflets with unequal leaf bases. The petiole is 7-12 cm long and covered with shiny reddish brown scales that can also be found on the leaf axis and twigs. The inflorescences are densely covered with peltate scales; the male inflorescence is up to 40 cm long and wide while the female inflorescence is smaller and fewer-branched (Mabberley & Pannell, 2013).

The flowers are subglobose or depressed globose, about 1.1-1.5 mm long and 1.1- 1.6 mm wide comprised of 5 petals, with 5 rounded calyx lobes which may be covered in scales like those of the twigs. The fruits are berryoid, 2-2.5 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide, reddish orange outside, densely covered with orange-brown peltate scales (Mabberley & Pannell, 2007). The mature fruit breaks open along the ridge on the fruit wall when pressure is applied. The fruit contains a seed with a translucent, yellow, juicy, sweet or rather bitter-tasting fleshy aril (Nparks Flora Fauna website, 2020).

Aglaia korthalsii is still grown as a fruit tree in villages in Kelantan and Terengganu. The Orang Utan and Lar Gibbon are known to consume the fruits (Norsyam, 1992). The wood is also used for house poles. Although this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (Pannel, 1998), the conservation status for this species in Peninsular Malaysia is Least Concern because there is no threat of extinction.

References

  1. Mabberley, D.J. & Pannell, C.M. (2007). Meliaceae. In Soepadmo, E., Saw, L.G., Chung, R.C.K. & Kiew, R. (eds.) Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak, volume 6. Sabah Forestry Department, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Sarawak Forestry Department. pp. 63-66.
  2. Mabberley, D.J. & Pannell, C.M. (2013). Meliaceae. In Kiew, R., Chung, R.C.K., Saw, L.G. & Soepadmo, E. (eds.) Flora of Peninsular Malaysia, Series II: Seed Plants, volume 4. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM). pp. 97-99.
  3. Norsham, S.Y. (1992). Aglaia korthalsii.Of fragrant flower and edible fruits. FRIM website. Retrieved January 31, 2020, from https://www.frim.gov.my/colour-of-frim/aglaia-korthalsii-of-fragrant-flowers-and-edible-fruits/wppaspec/oc1/cv0/ab67/pt248
  4. Nparks Flora Fauna website. Aglaia korthalsii. National Parks Board. Retrieved January 31, 2020, from https://florafaunaweb.nparks.gov.sg
  5. Pannell, C.M. (1998). Aglaia korthalsii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1998: e. T34759A9887989. Retrieved January 31, 2020, from https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.1998.RLTS.T34759A9887989.en.
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