Shorea lamellata Foxw.
by Mrs. Nur Hazwanie Binti Abd Halim
Shorea lamellata Foxw.
by Mrs. Nur Hazwanie Binti Abd Halim

Shorea lamellata Foxw. is a dipterocarp tree species belonging to the white meranti group (usually called Meranti Pa’ang). In Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak, this species’ preferred name is Meranti lapis (Chua et al., 2010), while in Sabah, it is locally known as Melapi lapis (Wong & Chung, 2002; PROSEA, 2020). The epiphet name, lamellata is derived from the Latin word “lamellatus” meaning arranged in layers, which refers to its laminated inner bark (Soepadmo et al., 2004; Symington, 2004).

Meranti lapis is widely distributed in Sumatra (Riau Archipelago) and Borneo (Sarawak and Kalimantan but absent in Sabah) (Soepadmo et al., 2004) and in Peninsular Malaysia it can only be found in Dindings, Kuala Kangsar, Kinta and Batang Padang districts of Perak (Symington, 2004; Chua et al., 2010). It is scattered on low hills in mixed dipterocarp forest, on sedimentary and sandy clay soils and even on the Arip rhyolite, at altitudes of 500 m, but can also occur as high as 900 m a.s.l. in valleys.

Shorea lamellata is a large emergent tree that can grow up to 50 m in height and 1.75 m in diameter. It has a well-shaped cylindrical bole with short, stout buttresses that can reach up to 3 m in height. The bark is fissured; greyish to purplish-brown in colour with laminated pale and dark yellow inner bark. It has ovoid-falcate leaf buds and oblong-obtuse stipules. Its leaves are thinly coriaceous, elliptic-oblong or oblong to ovate in shape, about 10–15 x 4–8 cm in size, greyish when dry, and are stellate-hairy on the underside. The flowers are small, with white petals and 15 stamens. The fruits have three long outer wings up to 18 cm in length and two shorter inner wings of up to 7 cm. The nut is ovoid in shape measuring 1.4 x 1.0 cm (Soepadmo et al., 2004; Symington, 2004).

Shorea lamellata is listed as Critically Endangered (CR) in both the Malaysia Plant Red List (Chua et al., 2010) and IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Ashton, 1998). This is mainly due to its restricted distribution, logging and habitat loss. In Kalimantan, this species is also threatened by harvesting as it produces high quality timber and is one of the major sources of light red meranti timber (Trimanto & Shofiah, 2018). The clear resin produced from this timber is used commercially in Borneo (PROSEA, 2020).

At the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Kepong Dipterocarp Arboretum, Shorea lamellata can be viewed in the living collection.

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