Tristaniopsis whiteana (Griff.) Peter G.Wilson & J.T.Waterh., Austral. J. Bot. 30: 440 (1982)
Named after 'Rev. White', Christian chaplan in Singapore, c. 1841.
Tristania motleyi Ridl.
Tristania sumatrana Miq.
Tristania whitiana Griff.
Tristania whightiana Duthie [spelling variant]
Tristaniopsis whiteana subsp. whiteana
Large tree with peeling, smooth, whitish bark. The stalked leathery leaves alternate and
measure 7-20 cm in length by 2-5.5 cm in width. Its tiny flowers are about 5 mm wide. They
have white petals and reddish sepals. Flowers are borne on a branched flowering shoot
measuring 5-7.5 cm wide. It is insect pollinated. Its fruits are small, about 2.5-4 mm wide.
Its fruit contains from one to many seeds. They are thin, thinly membranous, straight or curved.
Canopy tree, occasionally shortly emergent tree to c. 45 m high, to 1.5 m diameter, with concave
rounded buttresses; bark at first white to light greenish grey with occasional hint of very pale
orange, smooth, later peeling in scroll-like strips; older unpeeled bark evenly pale grey-dull
light olive; peeled bark scrolls pale to dark grey with mauve-brown patches; inner bark whitish;
sapwood yellowish. Leaf beneath, rachis, flower bud fruit sparsely or densely more or less
persistently grey-brown puberulent, or sometimes glabrous. Twigs c. 2 mm thick apically, slender,
round, glabrous, smooth eventually thinly peeling. Leaves alternate, shiny fresh green when alive, drying
rich dark olive-brown glistening beneath, oblong to lanceolate, 13 x 4 (7.3-17 x 2.5-4.5) cm,
thinly leathery; base narrowly wedge-shaped, stalk distinct, (0.5-)0.8(-1.2) cm long, slender;
apex sharply acute; main veins subequal, (54-)68(-92) pairs, very many, dense, slender, slightly
but distinctly raised above and below; intramarginal vein to 1 mm within margin. Cyme to 10 cm
long, to 5-branched, with long slender rachis. Flower cream with yellow stamens; bud c. 1.5 x 1 mm;
pedicel c. 1 mm; calyx minutely warty, unribbed, lobes c. 0.5 x 1 mm; petals c. 1.5 mm; stamens
3 per cluster opposite each petal, filament c. 1.5 mm, anther c. 0.2 mm. Capsule c.4 x 3.5 mm,
ellipsoid; seeds many, c. 0.4 x 0.2, elliptic. [from Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak]
The paradigmatic late successional tree of landslips on the steep inland hills. Locally abundant
also in secondary forest and river banks from the lowland to upper dipterocarp forest, to 1500 m
on Kinabalu; generally in dipterocarp forests on mostly clay soils, but on sandy soils and the
transition to kerangas in W. Sarawak.
The tree is harvested from the wild for its timber, which is used locally. The wood is hard and heavy
It is used locally for building houses. The heartwood is generally reported to be resistant to
attack by decay fungi and termites. It is used for flooring, pallets, heavy construction,
specialty items (pulleys, rollers, bearings, sheaves, tool handles).
Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo.