Friday, June 18, 2010

Tualang Tree Koompassia Excelsa

Tualang Tree as what is called in Malaysia or scientifically known as Koompassia excelsa, is an emergent tropical rainforest tree species in the Fabaceae family. It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. It is one of the tallest tropical tree species: the tallest measured specimen is 85. m or 88m tall.
Tualangs grow mostly in lowland rainforests where it towers over the canopy. Tualang has huge buttress roots to support it weight like most tall rainforest trees while not all huge rainforest tree share the same charactheristic like Merbau tree which has it trunk straightly rooted to the forest floor.

Tualangs only branch over the canopy (around 30 m) and have slippery trunks, which makes them attractive to the giant honey bees Apis dorsata that hang their huge combs from the branches. Even the bees cannot protect the trees from loggers, as nowadays tualang tree can only be found deep in the lowland rainforest. This special honey bee, deep lowland rainforest and Tualang tree are interrelated and inter connected, as giant honey bee (apis dorsata) habitat is only in deep rainforest this what make honey from Tualang tree nest is so special as what known as Madu Tualang in Malaysia, without vast rainforest to feed around there would meant extinction to this special honey bee, no honey bee nest on Tualang Tree and vice versa, no honey bee and no forest around it the big Tualang tree is more likely the first to go. The big tree absolutely worth more than the honey for loggers. What make this tree so special is bee hunter would make expedition into deep rainforest looking for Tualang tree to harvest honey. The trail leading to location of the Tualang tree would be marked and they would return annually to harvest honey. Tualang tree honey harvest technique and ritual is unique and well documented in books and documentary.

1. "Borneo". Eastern Native Tree Society. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
2.  Hou, D. Leguminosae (Subfamily Caesalpinioideae). In Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak, Volume 3, 2006. Soepadmo, E., Saw, L.G. eds. Government of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ISBN 983-2181-06-2
3. Picture taken from and

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