Shorea leprosula Miq.
by Ms. Sara Eisya Binti Mohamed Ghozali
Shorea leprosula Miq.
by Ms. Sara Eisya Binti Mohamed Ghozali

As a young field ecologist, witnessing a Shorea leprosula flower fall with minute flowers carpeting the forest floor was truly one of the memorable highlights, considering this magnificent tree flowers only once every few years.

The genus Shorea is named after Sir John Shore, the governor-general of the British East India Company (1793-1798) while the epithet leprosula is derived from the Latin word leprosulus, referring to the appearance of the domatia (Ashton, 2004).

Shorea leprosula is locally and commercially known as meranti tembaga and seraya tembaga, but is more popularly known as meranti tembaga (Wong, 2002). 'Tembaga' means copper in Malay, referring to the yellowish crown of the mature trees (Symington et al., 2004).

Shorea leprosula is a late successional tree that can grow up to 60 m in height and 1.5 m in diameter with buttressing up to 2 m tall. It has a tall and cylindrical bole with deep and wide v-section fissures on its bark. The ovate-oblong leaf blade measures 8-14 x 3.5-5.5 cm with an obtuse or broadly acuminate leaf base. The flowers are small and measure up to 6 x 3 mm with pale yellow petals (Ashton, 2004).

The distribution of Shorea leprosula spans from Peninsular Thailand, throughout the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, to Borneo (Symington et al., 2004). This tree is economically important as a versatile timber to make furniture, skirtings, mouldings, flooring, panelling and many others (Malaysian Timber Council, n.d.). The Standard Malaysian Name for the timber group Shorea spp. is Light Red Meranti.

Presently, the global conservation status for this species is Near Threatened (NT) while at local level, the status is Least Concern (LC) (Pooma & Newman, 2017; Chua et al., 2010; Yong et al., 2021).


  1. Ashton, P.S. (2004). Dipterocarpaceae. In Soepadmo, E., Saw, L.G. & Chung, R.C.K. (eds.) Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak, volume 5. Sabah Forestry Department, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Sarawak Forestry Department. pp. 101.
  2. Chua, L.S.L., Suhaida, M., Hamidah, M. & Saw, L.G. (2010). Malaysia Plant Red List: Peninsular Malaysian Dipterocarpaceae. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Malaysia.
  3. Malaysian Timber Council. (n.d.). Light Red Meranti. MTC Wood Wizard. Retrieved July 07, 2021, from
  4. Pooma, R. & Newman, M.F. (2017). Shorea leprosula. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T33123A2833148. Retrieved July 07, 2021, from
  5. Symington, C.F., Barlow, H.S., Ashton, P.S. & Appanah, S. (2004). Foresters' Manual of Dipterocarps. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and Malayan Nature Society, Malaysia. pp. 211-215.
  6. Wong, T.M., Lim, S.C. & Chung, R.C.K. (2002). A Dictionary of Malaysian Timbers . Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Malaysia
  7. Yong, W.S.Y., Chua, L.S.L., Lau, K.H., Siti-Nur Fatinah, K., Cheah, Y.H., Yao, T.L., Rafidah, A.R., Lim, C.L., Syahida-Emiza, S., Ummul Nazrah, A.R., Nor-Ezzawanis, A.T., Chew, M.Y., Siti Munirah, M.Y., Julius, A., Phoon, S.N., Sam, Y.Y., Nadiah, I., Ong, P.T., Sarah Nabila, R., Suhaida, M., Muhammad-Alif Azyraf, A., Siti Eryani, S., Yap, J.W., Jutta, M., Azeman, S., Salleh, N., Kiew, R. & Chung, R.C.K. (2021). Malaysia Red List: Plants of Peninsular Malaysia, Volume 1, Issue/No. 2. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Malaysia. pp. 316, 753.
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