Merbau - Malaysia's National Tree

All About Merbau - Malaysia's National Tree


Overview of Wood Species: Merbau

Name Merbau, Kwila, Ipil
[Intsia spp. (I. bijga, I. palembanica)]
Type Heavy Hardwood
Density 515-1,040 kg/m3 air dry
Janka Hardness 7,620N
Location South East Asia, East Africa, Australia, New Guinea
Tree Size 40-60m tall, 1.2-1.5m trunk diameter

In 2019, the Merbau tree was officially selected as Malaysia's national tree. It is one of the tallest trees in the tropical region, and can be found all over the country (at the Peninsular, Sabah & Sarawak!). 

Merbau's sapwood is pale yellow to light buff, which is sharply different compared to its heartwood that is yellowish to orange-brown in colour when fresh. The heartwood darkens to brown or dark red-brown after exposure. One of its telltale signs is the small yellow mineral deposits found throughout the wood. 

“With its hardy nature, I believe that all Malaysians can take the merbau as a symbol of national pride,”
- Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

Merbau is very durable, and has good resistance to rotting and insect attacks. Some common usages for Merbau wood include flooring, furniture, musical instruments, and other specialty wood items.

12 May 2023