Teak (Tectona grandis Linn. f.): A Renowned Commercial Timber Species

  • Palanisamy, K. (Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding) ;
  • Hegde, Maheshwar (Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding) ;
  • Yi, Jae-Seon (College of Forest & Environmental Sciences, Kangwon National University)
  • Published : 2009.04.30


Teak (Tectona grandis) is one of the most valuable timber yielding species in the world, with predominant distribution in tropical or sub-tropical countries. However, natural teak available only in few countries like India, Myanmar, Laos People's Democratic Republic and Thailand. Teak grows well in deep, well-drained alluvial soils, fairly moist, warm, tropical climate with pH ranges from 6.5-7.5. Teak is cultivated in many Asian, African and South American countries for timber production. The global teak plantations are estimated to be three million hectare with major share in India (44%) followed by Indonesia (33%). India is considered as richest genetic resources of teak with large areas of natural teak bearing forests (8.9 million ha), plantations (1.5 million ha), clonal seed orchards (1000 ha) and seed production areas (5000 ha). The studies on diversity of teak populations showed that teak is an out crossing species with major portion of diversity present within the populations. The productivity and quality of teak timber varies depending upon the site and environmental conditions. Teak wood is moderately heavy, strong and tough,straight grained, coarse textured and ring porous with specific gravity varies from 0.55 to 0.70. The sapwood is white to pale yellow in colour and clearly demarcated while heartwood is dark brown or dark golden yellow in colour. Teak is one of the most durable timbers in the world, practically, impervious to fungus and white ant attack and resistant to decay. Teak wood is used in ship and boat constructions, furnitures and aesthetic needs. Genetic improvement programmes have been undertaken in countries like Thailand, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. The programme includes provenance identification and testing, plus tree selection and clonal multiplication, establishment of seed orchards and controlled hybridization. Several aspects like phenology, reproductive biology, fruit characteristics, silvicultural practices for cultivation, pest and diseases problems, production of improved planting stock, harvesting and marketing, wood properties and future tree improvement strategy to enhance productivity have been discussed in this paper.