Gmelina (Gmelina arborea), (in English Beechwood, Gmelina, Goomar teak, Kashmir tree, Malay beechwood, White teak, Vemane ), grows native in southeast asia locally known as Gmelina in the Philippines. It grows fast the same as it sheds its leaves. It was first introduced to Myanmar and East Malaysia. Later it was introduced other ASEAN countries and its neighbors like India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam as well as some southern parts of China. It has been greatly reproduced and planted in countries worldwide in Central and East Africa, West Africa and South Africa. This program was also implemented in some countries as experimental approach to reforestation, to support local furniture industry and also as ornamental trees planted in gardens and streets. In the Philippines it is widely grown in plantations dedicated for the furniture industry. Sometimes farmers interplant gmelina together with coconut to substitute cutting of coconut trees. Native to Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Considered exotic to the following countries Brazil, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia.
Gmelina arborea grows fast but differs depending on the fertility of the soil and the moisture of the environment. Since this tree depends mostly on high moist to grows, when planted on dry and poor soils growth is noticeable. Preferred to be planted in sandy loam soil and best on high silt deposit land near rivers. A regular tree attains an average height of 30m with a girth of 1.2 to 4 chlorophyll layer under its outer bark and a pale yellow white inside. Can live when planted in high places as high as 1200 m with the average temperature of 38 – 48 degrees. Considered as a light demanding plant however it can withstand living in shaded areas.
It’s wood is pale yellow to cream in color which turns into yellowish brown when exposed to moderate light with large opposite leaves, brownish-yellow flowers grouped in cymose panicles, and yellow drupes. Texture or the timber is mostly straight to irregular but rarely some shows wavy grains with medium coarse in texture. First flowers appear 3-4 year after planting. Its flowering period is between February to April, in this period the tree is almost leafless and its fruiting period starts from May onwards to June. Mature fruits are produced after 1 week after flowering. Its fruit is about 2.5cm long, smooth, dark green while turning to yellow when ripe with a fruity smell. Propagation method is normally done by collecting seeds from the ground, de-pulped and stone dried. Seeds usually germinate from 20-50 days under ideal conditions are met, the output rate of the seed lot is at 60% rate. After the germination process the seedlings can be easily planted which mostly done on rainy seasons, some practical methods planting seeds are done by directly sowing the seeds with is also considered practical and more efficient by most growers.
The produced timber of the specie is strong with relation to its weight. Mostly used for construction, furniture, sports and musical instruments, and artificial limbs. Once its timber is correctly curred it results to a very stable and resistant to decay and moderate termite attack.
Used most of the time on door and window panels, furniture like wardrobes, cupboards and kitchen furnitures, and musical instruments because of it’s weight which is reasonably light, stability and durability. Other uses of the timber is on boat building on decks and oars. It is also popular in making picture and slate frames, articles and many brush backs, brush handles, toys, handles for chisels, saw, screwdrivers and sickles.
In manufacturing it is used in tea chest sets, plywood for general use, blackboard and frames. Also the main component in making and manufacturing drawing boards, plane tables, instrument boxes, thermometer scales and cheap grade metric scales. In medical side it is used to make artificial limbs, carriages, and bobbins. In sports it is also approved as handles of tennis rackets, frames and reinforcement of carom boards and packing cases and crates.
The roots and bark of Gmelina are believed and claimed to cure stomach ache, improve appetite, serve as laxative, abdominal pains, fevers and urinary discharge. Paste from its leaves when applied relieves headaches and it’s juice used to wash for ulcer.It’s flowers are used in leprosy and various blood diseases. It’s fruit can also be used as substitute astringent to bowels, promote hair growth, anemia, ulcers, thirst and vaginal discharge. It’s bark is also recommended to be used in combination to other drugs to treat snakebite and scorpion sting.
Other functional uses
The fruit is edible, its leaves is good for cattle to eat. Using it as firewood is also excellent which has a calorific value of 4800 kcal/kg. Flowers are also abundant in nectar and makes a good honey. The pulp is also a good ingredient in making quality paper and carton board. The ash of the wood and the fruit is also a very good ingredient for making yellow dye. It’s leaves is good for cattle which contains a crude protein of 11.9 % and recommended for silkworm culture.