Malabar Ironwood
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Malabar Ironwood
E Native Photo: Anurag Sharma
Common name: Malabar Ironwood, White Kongu, Hopea • Kannada: ಬೋಗಿಮರ Bogi mara, ಬೋವುಮಾರ Bovu Mara, ಕಿರಾಲುಬೋಗಿ Kiralbogi, ಸಣ್ಣೆಲೆಬೋಗಿ Sannele Bogi • Malayalam: Urippu, Irumbogum, Kongu, Thambagam, Iripu • Tamil: Irubogam, Pongu, Vellaikongu
Botanical name: Hopea parviflora    Family: Dipterocarpaceae (Sal family)

Malabar Ironwood is a tree up to 35 m tall, bole straight, buttressed, bark 6-10 mm, light brown or grey, mottled with white, rough vertically fissured, fibrous; blaze yellowish; branchlets reddish-brown, slightly velvet-hairy. Leaves are simple, alternate; stipules small, lateral, deciduous; leaf-stalk 1.0-1.2 cm, slender, velvet-hairy when young, hairless when matured, grooved above; blade 8-11.5 x 3-5 cm, ovate, lanceshaped or ovate-lanceshaped, base pointed blunt, heart-shaped or subheart-shaped, tip pointed or hairless, apiculate, leathery; lateral nerves 8-12 pairs, pinnate, prominent, intercostae scalariform, faint, domatia present. Flowers are bisexual, 3-4 mm across, creamy yellow, in unilateral at branch-ends and upper in leaf-axils, woolly racemose panicles; sepals 5, 3 mm long, woolly outside; petals 5, 6 mm long, oblong, hairless, fringed at tip; stamens 5, rarely 10, slightly fused; connective of anthers produced into a subulate point; ovary superior, hairless, ovules 2 in each cell; style short, subulate. Fruit is a nut, 5-6 mm long, round, hairless; wings 2, 6 x 1.8 cm, 8-10 nerved, hairless. Wood is brown, close-grained, hard, used extensively in house construction, for planking, as piles for bridges, for making platform boards, agricultural implements, for making railway sleepers and electric poles. It is also used for parts of ships, boat building, road rammers, rice pounders, sets, ladders, engine break blocks, railway keys, picker arms and for decorative wood work and turnery. The bark is considered a good tanning material and is used for tanning especially heavy quality leather. Malabar Ironwood is endemic to Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: January-April.

Identification credit: Anurag Sharma Photographed in Karkala, Karnataka.

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