Mesua ferrea L.


Mesua ferrea L.





Vernacular Names

Malaysia Penaga, penaga lilin, lenggapus (Peninsular).
English Ceylon ironwood, Indian rose chestnut.
Indonesia Nagasari (Javanese), nagasari gede (Sundanese).
Burma (Myanmar) Ngaw, gangaw.
Laos Ka thang, may lek.
Cambodia Bos neak.
Thailand Bunnak (General), saaraphi-doi (Chiang Mai).
Vietnam v[aas]p.

Geographical Distributions

Mesua ferrea is distributed throughout India, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore; planted as an ornamental or shade tree elsewhere in the Malesian region.



M. ferrea is a medium-sized tree up to measure 30 m tall, with straight bole, branchless for up to measure 20 m, up to measure 65 cm in diametre and fluted or with small buttresses at the base. The bark surface is elongated, adherent scaly, irregularly fissured and dull brown to grey with a purplish tinge while the inner bark is brownish-red to red or pinkish in colour, with sparse drops of clear whitish to pale yellow exudates and darkening upon exposure.

The leaves are elliptical in shape, with a size of measure about 4.5-12.5 cm x 1-4 cm, acute base and glaucous white below. The secondary and tertiary venation is indistinct on both surfaces. The petiole is measure 4-8 mm long.

The flowers are solitary or in pairs and up to 9 cm across.

The fruit is an ellipsoid in shape, with a size measure about 3.5 cm long and seated on the persistent sepals.


Ecology / Cultivation

M. ferrea is common in evergreen forest on level or undulating land, also on ridges with shallow soils, from sea-level up to 500 m altitude, but planted up to 1300 m. The density of the wood is 940-1195 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content.


Line Drawing / Photograph


Read More

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    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 5 (2): Timber trees: Minor commercial timbers.