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Annual reports of the secretary of war, Volume 8 online

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Bagay Gulf, Ambos Oamarines

Tacloban. Leyte

Palompan. Leyte

Dumaguete, Kegros Oriental

nollo. Hollo

Isabela, Basllan Island

Zamboanga, Moro

Cotabato, Moro

Parang, Moro —

Marahul. Moro

Sibuguey Bay, Moro



daily out
INit (board









PriDctpal markets.





Manna, Oeba. Doflo, and
New York.











Oebu and local.

United States Army.


Local and PhlUpplDa rail-

(•) SmaU mill.

Digitized by VjOOQ iC


By Fbed W. Foxworthy.

[Extract from The Philippine Journal of Science, C. Botany, October, 1907, vol. 2, No. 6.]

L IntroduotloiL.

Much misinfonnation is current as to the names and characteristics of our
native woods. A wood is often variously designated in the same or in differ-
ent provinces and again, several different Itinds are frequently found under an
identical name, for example molave (Vitex spp.) has more than forty different
names in the Archipelago, and this multiplicity of names for the same wood
naturally results in confusion which is very much increased when, as often
happens, the same name applies to different woods in different localities. This
makes it very eaE^y for the unscrupulous dealer to substitute a poor quality for
a better. There is evident need of some quick and sure way of Identifying the
woods needed for furniture, construction, and other purposes, and therefore it
has seemed desirable to prepare a brief guide and description of those which
are found in commercial quantities in the Manila market. This has been a task
of some difficulty, because of their large number and the unsteady and uncer-
tain supply of any one species at any given time.

There are about sixty-five commercial woods furnished by about one hundred
species which are nearly always to be found in Manila, and in addition, there
are several times as many which may occasionally be brought here in small
quantities, so that the resulting complication is considerable. It follows that
the chances for error are very great; so that this paper at best can be only
preliminary to the more complete work Indicated by the title.


But little has been done in the way of careful study of the native woods ; the
literature is as follows:

ViDAL Y SoLER (D. DoMiNQo). — Manual del Maderero en Fllipinas (1877), and
other works by the same author.

Scattered notes by other Spanish authors.
Foreman (John).— The Philippine Islands. London (1899), 2d edition, 367-
373; (1906), 3d edition, 312-317.
This author gives notes on some of the best-known commercial woods.
Ahbrn, George P. — Important Philippine Woods. Manila (1901).

This is a compilation of notes from previous writers. This book brought
together what had been written of the Philippine woods before 1901.
Gardner, R. — Mechanical Tests, Properties, and Uses of Thirty Philippine

Woods. Manila, For, Bur, Bull, (1906), 4, 2d edition (Aug. 1907).
Whitford, H. N. — ^A preliminary Check-list of the Philippine Commercial Tim-
bers, Manila, For, Bur, Bull, (1907), 7. (-In press.)

The last two publications are most useful at the present time and they
have been quoted extensively in this paper.

scope and methods of the present work.

In this paper the attempt has been made to give: 1. A general and technical
discua^on of wood. 2. A key to the common commercial woods. 3. Short
notes on the structure, appearance, common names, range, and usefulness of
individual species. 4. A very complete index.

Botanical material has furnished the starting point in correlating the name
and wood which should go together; the botanical determination being made

Digitized by



from herbarinro material taken from' the same tree as is the wood specimen ;
when the scientific name has been fixed and the structure studied, the wood is
compared with commercial material until the latter can be determined definitely
under its different names. Sections, whenever necessary, and as many as were
necessary, have been made to determine doubtful points of structure.

The usefulness of this paper should consist In the ready classification of the
commoner native woods ; in the better understandhig of their uses ; in the find-
ing of new applications for them and in discovering the relationships •xistlng
between the woods of the Philippine Islands and those of the rest of the world.

In addition to the ones already mentioned, the following sources of informa-
tion, have been used :

Roth and Femow. Timber. Bui. Bur. of Forestry, U. S. Dept of Agri-
culture (1895), 10.

Oamhle, J. 8, A Manual of Indian Timbers. London (1902).

Janssoniua, JET. H, Mikrographie des Holzee. Leiden (1906).

Each of the American foresters of the Philippine Forest Service has aided
the writer with material and observations. Special acknowledgments, how-
ever, are due Dr. H. N. Whitford and H. M. Curran, of the Bureau of Forestry,
for their constantly helpful observations and the large amount of material
furnished by them for the study of different woods. The field notes of Mr. J.
B. Hillsman, of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, have also been of service.

n. General Disonssion.


(a) Oro88 Morpholootf of Wood.

CT.AS8BS OF WOOD. — ^All woody plants may be grouped according to their stem
structure and botanical relationships as Pteridophytea, Monocotyledons (Bndo-
gens), and Exogens.

Pteridophytes, — ^The hard tissue is scattered in large, irregular bundles
through the stem; the latter is uneven, being made up of soft and very hard
material. Tree ferns are included in this class ; they do not come into the mar-
ket, but the trunks of certain species are used locally in Benguet and elsewhere
in northern Luzon as posts for houses.

Monocotyledons or Endogens, — The wood is composed of scattered, small
bundles of hard, woody tissue, the interspaces being filled with soft tissue. This
group includes the hamhooa, palms, pandans, etc.

Bamboos, — No work on the woods of the Philippine Islands would be com-
plete without some mention being made of the bamboos which furnish so large
a part of the structural materials of the Archipelago. Several dlffer^it species
are used, but they all agree In having the peculiar monocotyledonous structure
already described, modified by the stem being hollow and Jointed. They also
contain a considerable proportion of silica.

The palms do not have jointed stems and are not hollow, but the central part
of the stem is usually very soft and brittle. From the outer part, which is very
hard and which will take a high polish, canes, bows, and other articles are made.
Palma brava {Livistana spp.) and the cocoanut palm {Cocos nucifera L.) are
the ones most used. Some palm stems are also suitable for the manufacture of
small ornamental pillars, where the top and bottom are not exposed to the
air, and where the defective nature of the inner part of the stem is not dis-
played. Palms are also to some extent used for flooring and for comer posts
of houses.

The hejucos and rattans (Calamus, Daemonorops) also being in this group,
but as they occur in such small dimensions they are not considered in this

The pandans or screw pines (Pandanus spp.) are widely distributed through-
out the Archipelago. They are from a number of different species of the genus

The outer part of the stem of the Pandanus is usually very hard. I do not
know of its commercial use here, but in some Pacific islands It furnishes an
ornamental wood similar in texture, but inferior in finish, to that of the cocoa-
nut {Cocos nucifera L.) and palma brava (Livistona spp.).

Exogens, — The remainder of our woody plants may be grouped together as
Ewogens; that is, the stem consists of a woody cylinder which grows in diamet^
by the addition of concentric layers about the wood already formed ; there are




two great groups; the Oymnosperms, or Conifers, and the AngiospermSy or
broad-leaved plants. These may be distinguished as follows :

Oon</er5.~Wood, except in the first layer about the pith, containing no ves-
sels; that is, nonporous; exceedingly regular in structure. There are U num-
ber of Conifers native to the Islands, but they are scattered in small patches or
in almost Inaccessible places on the mountains. The only native Conifer that
is cut at all for timber i» the Benguet pine {Pinus insularia Endl.) and it
scarcely comes into the Manila market at all. However, a large amount of
coniferous wood is imported; nearly all of this is California redwood or Ore-
gon pine, although an occasional piece of coniferous timber from Australia,
Japan, or China is encountered.

Angioaperms, — The remaining group, the broad-leaved trees, furnishes prac-
tically all of the Philippine wood found in the lumber yards, and further dis-
cussion will apply to woodis of this group unless otherwise indicated. •»


Pith, woody and hark, — In examining the end of a log, three distinct areas '
are seen; namely, a small, central portion, the pith, made up of soft tissue;
an outside, more or less corky covering, the bark, for purposes of protection;
and, the wood, which Is the hard tissue making up the greater part of the log
and extending from bark to pith.

The pith Is usually of very small diameter; It Is rarely, as In Malapapaya
{Poly ados nodosa Seem.), greater than one centimeter. This fact Is of im-
portance because the pith Is an element of weakness In the wood.

Saptcood and heariwood, — The outer part of the log Is often of a much
lighter color, less In specific gravity and much softer than the center. The
distinct, central part of the log Is Imown as the heartwood and this outer por-
tion Is termed the sapwood. Many woods do not show any heartwood. The
relative amount of sap- and heart-wood is very variable according to the in-
dividual tree, the age and the part of the tree from which It Is taken.

Pith-rays. — Radiating from the pith to the bark are connecting lines of
soft tissue, the medullary or pith-rays. These are among the most Important
characteristics to be observed In the structure of a wood, since they have
an Intimate connection with both the strength and beauty. They differ in
size In different woods, being very large and distinct In some, as for example
in teluto {Pterocymhium tinctorivm Merr.), catmon (Dillenia spp.), etc., and,
in others, so small as to be invisible without the aid of a magnifying glass,
as In acle (Pithecolobium acle (Blco.) Vid.), betis (Illipe betis (Blco.) Merr.),
camagon {Diospyros spp.), or banaba {Lagerstroemia spcciosa (L.) Pers.).
The pith-rays may be all of the same size In the same tree, or there may be
some large ones (the primary pith-rays) running from pith to bark, and some
finer (secondary rays) starting beyond the pith. Compound pith-rays, where
several are crowded together, may also occur. Pith-rays may take father a
crooked or a straight course from the pith to the bark, but If curved, they
usually are not abruptly so. The height of pith-rays Is variable ; they may be
so short as scarcely to appear to have this dimension, or again It may be quite

Qrovjth rings, — ^The wood Is formed In layers about the pith ; and these may
be formed only during certain seasons, the tree resting the remainder of the
time. Where this Is the case, each period of growth produces a ring about the
pith. These rings are found In nearly all woods of temperate regions and In
some of those of the Tropics. Where but one of them Is formed during the year,
It Is called an annual ring, but manifestly, this name is not suitable for use with
our woods, since we do not know whether one year sees the growth of one or of
several. Consequently, the term annular, or seasonal growth rings has seemed
preferable and will be used In this paper.

Seasonal rings seem to be characteristic of some of our woods only. It seems
probable that the same species may have them when grown under one set of
conditions and not under different ones. It also appears that many trees ex-
hibit rings of seasonal growth when they are young but not afterwards. We
have begun, ih cooperation with the Bureau of Forestry, a series of observa-
tions on the manner and rate of formation of growth rings, but It will neces-
sarily be some years before any safe general conclusions can be reached.

Distinct seasonal rings seem to be of constant occurrence In narra {Ptero-
carpus spp.), banaba {Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers.), calantas {Toona
spp.), ipil {Intsia spp.), supa {Sindora supa Merr.), molave {Vitew i^p.),

1102&— WAR 1907— VOL 8 41 ^ ,

Digitized by VjOOQ iC


and several other woods, but there seems to be a considerably greater number
where they are not so.

False seasonal rings, — ^A number of woods show distinct, concentric lines
bearing a strong, superficial resemblance to seasonal rings. These false rings
may be caused by lines of soft tissue, as is the case in dita (Alstonia scholaris
R. Br.) and palo maria {Oalophyllum spp.), where they are so close together
as to make it unlikely that they will often b^ mistaken. Lines of whitisb
resin-canals oftoi give the appearance of seasonal rhigs in lauan {S?wrea spp.),
apitong {Dipterocarpus spp.), yacal (Hopea spp.), guijo {Shorea guiso Bl.),
etc. These may readily be distinguished from the true seasonal rings by their
irregularity of occurrence and by the fact that they usually fade out before
completely encircling the log, and where they are numerous some of them can
usually be seen to do this even in a small piece.

VesselSi — Fine, tubular passageways are found in all of these woods; hi
observing the end view of the log they appear as pores or sieve-like openings.

Concentric lines of soft tissue are found in some woods. These may be fine or

'coarse, wavy, brok&i, or straight. They are of very constant occurrence and

serve clearly to delimit certain groups. The size, number, and arrangement of

the vessels as well as the relation of the soft tissue and vessels' to each other

and to the pith-rays is very important


Each wood should be observed in the following three planes of section :

Cross section. — Any section directly across the stem at right angles to the
direction of growth; in this the pith-rays appears as long lines from pith to

Tangential section or slab cut, — ^Any longitudinal section parallel to the bark
and at right angles to the pith-rays. This is the one used in making ordinary,
cheap planking, and it shows what is known as the cat-faced or bastard grain.
In this plane of section the vessels appear as long lines through the wood and
the pith-rays are seen in end view.

Radial section, — ^Any longitudinal section parallel to the pith-rays. Here the
pith-rays appear as flat, expanded surfaces and the vessels as long lines; the
timber so cut is known as quartered or rlft-sawed, and has the beautiful silver
grain which is familiar to most users of wood. This is the best method of cut-
ting to secure the maximum of beauty and strength, but the tangential cut is
much the easier to make, as It necessitates less handling and involves less
waste ; however, it gives an inferior timber.

This is the figure presented by the structure of the wood. It is fine or
coarse, straight or crooked, according as the elements of the wood are coarse
or fine, crowded or loosely put together, straight or twisted. The best grain
of the wood is brought out by careful attention to the cutting. The occurrence
of a knot or branch, an irregularity in the trunk or root, or some local imper-
fection in the wood, may produce a regional modification of the grain, causing
what is known as curly, or bird*s-eye grain, or burl. Specimens diowing the
latter are at times very pretty and are much prized for certain classes of
furniture One of the best-known modifications of the grain is found in the
large buttresses or buttress roots of some of our trees; some of .these are of
sufficient size to furnish single-piece table tops. Narra (Pterocarpus spp.) is
probably the most widely known for this purpose, but we have a number of
different trees showing this habit Tindalo (Pahudia rhomhoidea Prain), palo
maria {Calophyllum spp.), tanguUe (Shorea polysperma (Blco.) Merr.).
calantas (Toona spp.) may be mentioned among the trees showing the fancy
burl or bird's-eye grain.

Spiral grain, — ^A tree in growing often takes a spiral direction as
indicated by the twistings of the bark; this gives the grain a spiral twist
and the wood, in splitthig, shows a series of fiutings. A moderately pronounced
spiral or twisted grain is evident in a number of our woods which show a
resistance to smoothing in planing and working. When planed in one dhrectlon,
portions of the surface are smoothed and certain others are roughened, and
when the operation is reversed, the smooth surface becomes roughened as the
rough surface is smoothed. This irregularity of grain is ott&i noticed in
amuguls {Koordersiodendron pinnatwn Bngl.), lauan (Shorea spp.), goijo
{Shorea guiso Bl.) and mayapis (Anisoptera spp.).

Digitized by VjOOQ iC


(&) Minute Anatomy,

Elements. — The elements making up wood are, vessels or trachese, trachelds,
wood-fibers, pith-ray cells, and wood parenchyma cells.

TrachecB, vessels, or pores are long tubes extending through the wood for
some distance. Their size, arrangement in rows or scattering, and their rela-
tion to other elements are of great importance in the classification of woods.
Large vessels are found in calantas {Toona spp.), lauan (Shorea spp.), and
batitinan {Lagerstroemia batitinan Vid.) ; very small ones in bolongeta {Dio-
spyros spp.), calamansanay and mancono {Xanthostemon verdugonianus

Wood-fibers, — ^These are long and slender, thick-walled cells, containing lignln
in their walls. Their abundance and the thickness of their walls is usually suf-
ficient to account for the weight and hardness of the wood.

Tracheids, — ^These are elongated, tapering cells, not so thick-walled as the
wood-fibers, of relatively greater diameter, with walls more pitted and shorter.

Pith-ray cells, — ^These are short, prismatic, thin-walled cells containing starch
grains, resin, or other deposits; they are nearly always with their long axes

Wood parenchyma. — This is formed by thin-walled, prismatic cells, with
starch or other Inclusions. The cells are scattered with more or less regu-
larity through the wood; the long axes being vertical. The wood parenchyma
in some woods is arranged in fine, concentric or wavy, broken lines. These are
usually of a lighter color than the surrounding tissue.

Pith-rays, — ^These are usually made up of unlignified cells and extend in a
radial direction.

Resin^canals, — These are passages lined with thin- walled cells which secrete
a resin which is often found exuding from the cells into the central passage, or
completely filling it. Resin-canals are found- in but few of our woods; for ex-
ample, Benguet pine (Pinus insularis Ekidl.), lauan (Shorea spp.), apitong
(Dipterocarpus spp.), yacal {Hopea spp.), tanguile {Shorea polysperma (Blco.)
Merr.), guijo (Shorea guiso BL), mangachapuy {Hopea acminata Merr.),
mayapis {Anisoptera spp.).

Deposits in vessels, etc. — The nature and color of the deposits in the vessels
of certain woods is a disthictive character. Thus Ipil {Intsia spp.) is dis-
tinguished by the sulphur-yellow deposits in its vessels; acle {Pithecolobium
acle (Blco.) Vid.) and catmon {Dillenia spp.) by white ones; lumbayao, calantas
(Toona spp.), and duguan (Knema and Myristica spp.) by red deposits; ebony,
camagon (Diospyros spp.), and bolongeta by the very dense, black deposits in
all of the wood elements of the heartwood; palo maria (Calophyllum spp.),
betis (Illipe betis (Blco.) Merr.), and bansalaguin (Mimusops elengi L.) have
pale-yellowish deposits in the vessels.



Color. — The heart- and the sap-wood are often very widely different in color.
Usually, the former is very much darker than the latter and the line of de-
marcation between the two is often very distinct. In some cases, such as
agoho (Casuarina equisetifolia Forst.) the heart is only different in degree
from the sap, being only a few shades darker in color and showing a gradual
change from sap- to -heart-wood. In other instances there is no heartwoda, the
color being the same throughout; examples are dita (Alstonia scholaris R. Br.)
and lanete (Wrightia spp.).

There is usually some range of color within a species, but still not so much
as to prevent the recognition of the characteristic color. However, In some
species there is the greatest latitude of variability. In narra (Pterocarpus
spp.), for Instance, three colors of wood, respectively known as white, yellow,
and red narra, seem to be obtained from the same species.

Color may be due to deposits in vessels, parenchyma and pith-ray cells, or to
the presence of some pigment in all the elements of the wood. In calantas
(Toona spp.), the elements all contain a certain amount of pigment and there
is also the red-colored substance In the vessels. The black color of camagon
(Diospyros spp.), bolongeta (Diospyros spp.), and ebony (Maba buxifolia
Pers. and Diospyros spp.) Is caused by a compound of tannic acid which fills
all the elements of the heartwood.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC



Odor, — Certain woods are recognizable \>y their disagreeable odor, as, f6r
example, cupang (Parkia roxburghii Don.) and Bugenia ^>. Galantas {Toona
spp.) has an odor resembling that of cedar; narra {Fterocarpus spp.), a
sweetish cedary, and teak (Tectona grandis L. f.) a distinctly aromatic odor.
Others of our woods have their peculiar odors, which, though fainter and diffi-
cult of description, are yet distinctive.

Taste. — A numl)er of our woods may be recognised by their bitter taste;
among these are anubing {Artocarpus spp.), batino {AUUmia macrophpUa
Wall.)* hetlB {Illipe hetis (Blco.) Merr.), bansalaguin {Mimusops elengi L.),
dita {AUtonia scholaris R. Br.), and yacal {Hopea spp.).

Weight and specific gravity. — We have quite a large number of heavy woods,
although perhaps not so large a proportion as is found in some other tropical
countries. I have classified our woods as very heavy, heavy, moderately heavy,
and light, following the classification used by Gardner.* We have many woods
which when green will sink in water, but the number of these which has a
greater specific gravity than water when dry is relatively small. Tlie following
table gives a list of Philippine and American commercial woods, with tbeir
weight and specific gravity so far as Imown.

The heavy woods which are italicised frequently come into the " very heavy "

Comparative weights of Philippine and American woods.


Very heavy.


Moderately heavy.


8p. jrr.. 0.90 or more.

8p. gr., 0.7D-0JX).

8p. gr., 0Ji<H).70L

8p. £T.,OJOorlen.

Welffht.— Metric sys-

Weight.— Metric sys-

Weight.— Metric sys-

Weight.— Metric sys-

tem, 900 Iclloa or

tem, 700-000 kiloe

tem, 60&-700 kUoi

tem, 600 kllot or

more per cu. m.;

percu. m.; English

per cu. m.; English

less per cu. m.;

Eoglisb system. 56

system. 44-M lbs.

system. 81-14 lbs.

En^ish system, 81

lbs. or more per

percu. ft.; Spanish

percu. ft.; Spanisb

Ibi. or lesa per cu.

cu. ft.; Spanisb

fyitem. 8»-i2 Um.

system. »-^ lbs.

ft.; Spaniah sys-

system, 42 lbs. or

uvea. ft.

percu. ft.

tem. 23 Iba. or less

more per co. ft.

per CO. ft.


Narra. »

















Amuguls. *




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