The Standard Malaysian Name for the timber of Syzygium spp. (Myrtaceae). Vernacular names applied include jambu (Sarawak), kelat (Peninsular Malaysia) with various epithets, keriang (Peninsular Malaysia), obah (Sarawak) with various epithets and ubah (Sarawak). The latest taxonomic revision of the genus has produced 200 species. The sapwood is not sharply differentiated from the heartwood, which is light brown, pink brown, red-brown or purple-brown with a grey tinge.

Also known as Ubah (Brunei); Plong and Tram (Cambodia); Olala (Fiji); Jaman (India); Duhat, Jambu laut, Ki tembaga and Salam (Indonesia); Va kaew (Laos); Thabye and Thabye-gui (Myanmar); Water gum (Papua New Guinea); Binolan, Makassim, Mariig and Mekasim (Philippines); Asi (Samoa Islands); Batadomba and Madan (Sri Lanka); Daeng, Dang Khao, Mao and Wa (Thailand); and Plong and Tram (Vietnam).


The timber is a Medium Hardwood with a density of 495-1,010 kg/m3 air dry.


Kelat has been classified as a moderately durable timber with an average service life of 3.3 years under natural Malaysian conditions (Jackson, 1965). However, the result cannot be wholly-relied on as it was obtained only from the timber of E. griffithii. Considering the large number of Eugenia species, appreciable variation in durability within the genus is to be expected. Desch (1954) reported a test carried out on two sticks of E. chlorantha, one treated with a mixture of 50 percent creosote and 50 percent fuel oil (absorption of 123 kg/m3) and the other untreated. Both the sticks were exposed to marine conditions at Port Klang. The untreated stick remained serviceable for less than two years whereas the treated stick remained serviceable for only two to three years.


The timber of kelat does not absorb preservatives readily.


Texture is moderately fine and even with interlocked, irregular or wavy grain.


The timber falls into Strength Group B (Burgess, 1958) or SG 3 (MS 544:Part 2:2001).

Strength Properties of Kelat (E. griffithii)
Test Condition Modulus of Elasticity(MPa) MModulus of Rupture(MPa) Compression parallel to grain (MPa) Compression perpendicular to grain (MPa) Shear strength (MPa)
Green - - 43.0 4.6 8.6
Air dry 17,600 116 59.0 6.0 12.8


It is easy to resaw and cross-cut. Planing is easy and the planed surface is smooth.

Machining Properties of Kelat (E. griffithii)
Test Condition Sawing Planing Boring Turning
Re-sawing Cross Cutting Ease of planing Quality of finish Ease of boring Quality of finish Ease of turning Quality of finish
Green easy easy easy smooth moderately easy fairly smooth - -
Air dry easy easy easy smooth slightly difficult slightly rough difficult smooth


The nailing property is rated as poor.


The timber seasons very slowly with end-checking and insect attacks as the main defects. 13 mm thick boards take 5 months to air dry, while 38 mm thick boards take 10 months.


Kiln Schedule C is recommended.

Kiln Schedule C
Moisture Content (%) Temperature (Dry Bulb) Temperature (Wet Bulb) Relative Humidity (%) (approx.)
°F °C °F °C
Green 105 40.5 101 38.0 85
60 105 40.5 99 37.0 80
40 110 43.5 102 39.0 75
35 110 43.5 100 38.0 70
30 115 46.0 103 39.5 65
25 125 51.5 109 43.0 60
20 140 60.0 118 47.5 50
15 150 65.5 121 49.0 40


Shrinkage is high, with radial shrinkage averaging 1.9% and tangential shrinkage averaging 3.3%.


Logs of kelat are normally free from any serious defects except for some occasional occurence of end splits and heart shakes. Attacks by 'pin' and 'powder' post beetles are rare and not serious. E. attenuata, E. dyeriana and E. polyantha have been found to be attacked by dry wood termites.


The timber is strong enough to be used for structural purposes like posts, beams, joists, rafters, medium heavy structures, telegraphic and power transmission posts and cross arms, staircase (angle blocks, rough brackets and newels), vehicle bodies (framework, floor boards and planking), ship and boat building (keels, keelsons and framework) as well as columns (light duty). If properly treated, it may be suitable for tramways, railway sleepers for secondary lines, bridges, wharves and agricultural implements.


  1. Burgess, H. J. 1958. Strength Grouping of Malaysian Timbers. Malayan Forest Service Trade Leaflet No. 25. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 15 pp.
  2. Desch, H. E. 1954. Manual of Malayan Timbers. Vol. II. Mal. For. Rec. No. 15.
  3. Jackson, W. F. 1965. The Durability of Malayan Timbers. Mal. For. Ser. Trade Leaflet No. 28.
  4. Lim, S. C. 1984. Malaysian Timbers - Kelat. Timber Trade Leaflet No. 88. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 8 pp.
  5. Menon, P. K. B. 1986. Uses of Some Malaysian Timbers. Revised by Lim, S. C. Timber Trade Leaflet No. 31. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 48 pp.
  6. MS 544:Part 2:2001. Code of Practice for the Structural Use of Timber: Permissible Stress Design of Solid Timber.
  7. Wong, T. M. 1982. A Dictionary of Malaysian Timbers. Revised by Lim, S. C. & Chung R. C. K. Malayan Forest Records No. 30. Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 201pp.