wood species


Origin: Malaysia and Indonesia.

Latin name.
Shorea, Parashorea, Pentacme.

Natural vegetation area.
Meranti is the official name used both in the countries of origin and in trade, given to one hundred or so different wood species with similar botanical characteristics, growing in South-East Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, the Philippines). An other distinction is possible as regards the name, which can vary according to the geographical origin: LUAN for the Philippines; MERANTI for Malaysia and Indonesia; and SERAYA for Borneo.

Many species reach massive sizes: from 45 to 60 metres height, with diameters at breast height between 1.5 m and 2 m. The trunk generally has a straight, upright and low-taper growth habit, with basal buttresses of various sizes. Large presence of strong internal stresses, and almost always of small black holes due to attacks by Scolytidae and Platypodidae.

These wood types are usually subdivided according to colour: white, yellow, light red and dark red. However, it should be noted that the light red and dark red types can be distinguished rather clearly, whereas the yellow and the white types are much less distinguishable because many pieces have shaded colours, and it is very difficult to tell whether they are yellowish or pinky, whitish or rosy.
In general, it can be stated that in the white and yellow types, the difference between the sapwood and the heartwood is not very clear in the fresh condition, whereas after seasoning the heartwood tends to become dark or greenish. In the red types, the difference is clear because the sap is generally greyish or rosy grey, and the heart is reddish or dark red.

Specific weight.
White Meranti in the fresh condition 850 kg/m³; after seasoning 660 kg/m³.
Yellow Meranti in the fresh condition 850 kg/m³; after seasoning 660 kg/m³.
Light red Meranti in the fresh condition 720 kg/m³; after seasoning 520 kg/m³.
Dark red Meranti in the fresh condition 900 kg/m³; after seasoning 700 kg/m³.

Histological structure.
The texture is generally coarse, whereas the grain is very often more or less cross-grain.

Variable, mostly medium.

Mechanical characteristics.
White Meranti axial compression strength 48 N/mm²; bending strength 97 N/mm²; impact behaviour moderate;
Yellow Meranti axial compression strength 47 N/mm²; bending strength 92 N/mm²; impact behaviour moderate;
Light red Meranti axial compression strength 50 N/mm²; bending strength 95 N/mm²; impact behaviour moderate;
Dark red Meranti axial compression strength 57 N/mm²; bending strength 110 N/mm²; impact behaviour moderate.

Modulus of elasticity.
White Meranti Modulus of elasticity 12.400 N/mm².
Yellow Meranti Modulus of elasticity 10.800 N/mm².
Light red Meranti Modulus of elasticity 13.000 N/mm²
Dark red Meranti Modulus of elasticity 13.200 N/mm².

Most frequent structural defects and alteration.
Strong internal stresses with consequent small cracks resulting from brittle heart are often to be recorded; blackish holes caused by Scolytidae and Platypodidae are frequent, too (it should be reminded that these small galleries do not grow in size once the wood is seasoned).

The sap can rapidly change because of fungi and insects; the heart of the darker types behaves somewhat better; in any case, an appropriate preservative treatment should always be applied if this wood is used in humid environments or outdoors.


Texts taken from: “Manuale tecnico del legno”, FNALA CNA LEGNO LEGNO, by Prof. Ing. Guglielmo Giordano.


Species available for the following products: