Palaquium gutta (Hook.f.) Baill.

Palaquium gutta (Hook.f.) Baill.




P. acuminatum Burck, P. oblongifolium (Burck) Burck, P. optimum Becc.

Vernacular Names

Taban merah, nyatoh taban merah (Peninsular), (nyatoh) rian (Sarawak).
English Gutta-percha tree.
Indonesia Balam merah (Sumatra), getah merah, getah sambun (Kalimantan).
Thailand Chik-nom, saeo (Peninsular).

Geographical Distributions

Palaquium gutta occurs naturally in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra and Borneo; it is cultivated elsewhere, such as. in Java.


P. gutta is a medium-sized to large tree that can reach up to measure 45 m tall, but generally much shorter (about 25 m) with columnar bole, up to measure 60 cm in diametre and with usually small buttresses. The twigs are usually slender, often hairy or scurfy at least at tips and with measure about 1 cm long terminal cone-like buds.

The leaves are arranged alternate, clustered at tip of twigs or evenly distributed. The stipules are up to measure about  3 mm long but fall off early. The petiole is measuring about 1-6 cm long. The blade is obovate, ovate, elliptical or narrowly elliptical in shape, with a size of measure about (8-)12-17(-50) cm x 2-6(-12) cm, with transverse or reticulate tertiary veins (sometimes parallel to secondary veins), distinct or inconspicuous and golden-brownish velvety beneath.

The inflorescence is an axillary fascicle with 2-7(-10) flowers. The flowers are bisexual. The pedicel is measuring about 2-9(-12) mm long. The sepals are (4-)6(-7), generally in two whorls of 3, ovate or triangular in shape and measure about 4 mm long. The petal is tubular, up to measure 9 mm long, (5-)6-lobed, with usually short tube and imbricate, often contort lobes and white to yellowish or greenish in colour. There are (10-)12-18(-36) stamens that are inserted at the throat of the petal tube and with acute anthers. The pistil is 1, with (5-)6(-10)-celled ovary and usually with long style.

The measuring of 2-3.5 cm long fruit is spherical, ellipsoidal or ovoid in shape, finely hairy and green. The seedling is with semi-hypogeal germination, emergent cotyledons and with strong developed taproot. The first pair of leaves is opposite or subopposite while the subsequent leaves are arranged spirally and soon similar to the leaves of adult trees.

Ecology / Cultivation

P. gutta occurs scattered in lowland forest, but sometimes occurs up to 1600 m altitude (Sabah). Plantations thrive in areas with precipitation over 2500 mm annually and without pronounced dry season. P. gutta requires a loose and well aerated soil rich in organic matter.

Line Drawing / Photograph



    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 18: Plants producing exudates.