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How big can a teak tree get?

August 22, 2011

Of the more than 1100 tree species in northern Thailand, teak (Tectona grandis, Lamiaceae) has traditionally been considered the most valuable timber tree. Consequently it has been logged heavily and already during the early 1900’s there was a concern of losing this resource. The law then stated that nobody could log specimens smaller than 2.13 meters in girth (the circumference at breast height). Such a teak has an estimated age of 150 years. If that was the smallest tree allowed, how big was a big one? Most teaks we see today are babies, often not much older than the time of the logging ban since 1989.

There are stumps of teak trees which are ca 2 meters in diameter, and the age is estimated at around 300 years.

The most exciting rumour is that in Uttaradit province there is a huge teak specimen, a giant from the old times, with an estimated age of 1000 years. If any of our readers know where this specimen is located, or any other giant teak, I should be happy to arrange for a Dokmai Garden excursion to go and see it. Even if its age is likely to be younger than 1000 years, I am sure it would be a magnificent sight!

A leaf and fruit of Dipterocarpus tuberculatus (left) and a leaf and fruit of teak (right). These two native species are often confused with each other. Both species grow at Dokmai Garden in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2011 1:28 PM

    The biggest Teak in Chiang Mai province is at the Chang Dao Resort, an old establishment with many interesting trees in the gardens a good few kilometres past Chang Dao on the East side.

    The biggest girthed teak I have seen in Chiang Mai is camoflaged by a Strebulus asper at the National Park check point right beside the road at Mae Hia Nai. An easy bike ride from town. This valley also has some interesting remnant trees and is a reforestation site of GumHakDoiSuthep.

    • August 22, 2011 1:37 PM

      Thanks for the advice – maybe we shall take a look tomorrow during our Dokmai Garden excursion!

      Eric

  2. August 22, 2011 1:32 PM

    About the Uttaradit “Biggest Teak in Thailand”
    I have seen the old teak tree on the road to Sirikit dam in a flat area near a stream.
    It lost its top many years ago.

    1000 years? I doubt it. Its diameter is miniscule compared with the huge Holoptelea integrafolia near my place in Tambon Srisaket, Amphoe Nanoi, Nan.

  3. August 22, 2011 6:47 PM

    Ton Sak Yai or Big Teak Tree Forest Park.
    This area is located in Amphoe Nam Pat where the largest teak tree in the world grows. It is another place of interest in Changwat Uttaradit where tourist who visits Sirikit Dam should also make a visit to this arboretum to view the giant teak tree.

    The tallest and oldest teak tree in the world is the Kannimari teak in India but the largest teak tree in the world is the Big Teak Tree Forest Park in Nam Pat District, Uttaradit. It has an approximate age of 1,511 years, measuring 37 meters in height and 6.57 meters in diameter.

    Read more: http://scienceray.com/biology/botany/11-more-spectacular-trees-from-around-the-world/#ixzz1Vl1PDgka

    Greetings Harry

    • August 22, 2011 7:59 PM

      Dear Harry,

      I am so happy for this information! Can we make a December Dokmai Garden excursion to see the largest teak in the world, i.e. would you like to be our guide?

      Cheers, Eric

  4. August 22, 2011 10:29 PM

    Oops I thought my memory of 11years since I saw the Uttaradit tree must be a stray.
    But then looking at the figures, the tallest teak in India has a girth of 642 cm and our tree a diameter of 6.57 – a very hard to believe figure. Perhaps in reality it has a girth of 657 cm or a diameter of just over 2 metres? The huge Holoptelea I mentioned has a diameter of around 4 metres. Time for a visit.

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