The Standard Malaysian Name for the timber of the Richetia group of Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae). Vernacular names applied include bam (Pahang), damar hitam (Peninsular Malaysia) with various epithets, meranti (Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak) with various epithets, seraya (Pahang), seraya kuning (Sabah) with various epithets and other localised names too numerous to list here. Major species include S. dolichocarpa, S. faguetiana, S. gibbosa, S. hopeifolia, S. longisperma, S. maxima and S. multiflora. The sapwood is lighter in colour and is clearly defined from the heartwood, which is lighter yellow-brown with a green tinge, darkening to deeper shades of yellow-brown or brown.

Also known as Yellow Meranti (Brunei); Dammar hitam, Dammar kelepek and Meranti kuning (Indonesia); Bam, Manggasinoro and Yellow Lauan (Philippines); and Kalo (Thailand).


The timber is a Light Hardwood with a density of 575-735 kg/m3 air dry.


The standard graveyard tests conducted at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) have shown that the average service life of S. multiflora and S. longisperma are 1.9 years and 1.1 years respectively. Out of the 45 tests stakes of S. multiflora, 15 stakes were destroyed within 6 months while the last two stakes were completely destroyed after three years. Similarly, tests on S. longisperma indicated that only about 8 percent of the test stakes were still serviceable at the end of the first year. The destruction of timber was caused almost exclusively by termites. Therefore, yellow meranti is classified as not durable under Malaysian conditions.


The timber is moderately difficult to treat with preservatives.


Texture is moderately coarse but even, with usually interlocked and sometimes wavy grain.


The timber falls into Strength Group C (Engku, 1988b) or SG6 (MS 544: Part 2: 2001).

Strength Properties of Yellow Meranti
Species Test Condition Modulus of Elasticity (MPa) Modulus of Rupture(MPa) Compression parallel to grain (MPa) Compression perpendicular to grain (MPa) Shear strength (MPa)
S. faguetiana Green 10,700 60 32.8 3.86 6.4
Air dry - - - - -
S. longisperma Green 10,500 55 29.5 2.97 6.0
Air dry - - - - -
S. multiflora Green 11,000 57 30.2 - 6.5
Air dry 12,100 67 40.0 - 8.0


It is easy to resaw and cross-cut in both green or air dry conditions. Planing is also easy and the planed surface is smooth to moderately smooth.

Machining Properties of Yellow Meranti
Species 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
S. faguetiana Green easy easy easy smooth easy smooth to rough - -
Air dry easy easy easy moderately smooth easy smooth easy slightly rough
S. longisperma easy easy easy smooth easy smooth to rough - -
Air dry easy easy easy smooth easy rough easy slightly rough
S. multiflora easy easy easy smooth easy smooth to slightly rough - -
Air dry easy easy easy smooth easy rough easy slightly rough


Nailing property ranges from good to poor depending on the species.


The timber dries moderately slowly, with very little degrade, except for some cupping, bowing and powder-post beetle attacks in the sapwood. 13 mm thick boards take approximately 3 months to air dry, while 38 mm thick boards take 5 months.


Kiln Schedule J is recommended. The timber is reported to dry well without any defects.

FKiln Schedule J
Moisture Content (%) Temperature (Dry Bulb) Temperature (Wet Bulb) Relative Humidity (%) (approx.)
°F °C °F °C
Green 135 57.0 123 50.5 70
50 135 57.0 119 48.0 60
40 140 60.0 118 47.5 50
30 150 65.5 121 49.0 40
20 170 76.5 127 53.0 30


Shrinkage is rather high to high, especially in the tangential direction. Radial shrinkage ranges between 0.9% and 1.2% while tangential shrinkage ranges between 3.1% and 3.8%.


Yellow meranti timbers are liable to brittle-heart formation. The extent of damage due to the brittle heart may be negligible in some logs but appreciable in others. The timber appears to be relatively free from shot-hole borer damage but they are subjected to attack by pin-hole borer (Desch, 1941). They are also reported to be highly susceptible to powder post beetle after felling (Menon, 1957). The timber stains when in contact with iron components ( Burgess, 1966).


The timber is suitable for general utility purpose, light construction, planking for vehicle bodies as well as ship and boat building, panelling, mouldings, partitioning, shop and office fittings, furniture, joinery, flooring, decking, staircase (angle blocks, rough bracket, apron lining, baluster, balustrade and sprandrel framing), tool handles (non impact), pallets, railway sleepers, posts, beams, joists, rafters and pencil. This timber is highly prized as a plywood species.


  1. Burgess, P. F. 1966. Timbers of Sabah. Sabah For. Rec. No. 6
  2. Choo, K. T. & Lim, S. C. 1988. Malaysian Timbers � Yellow Meranti. Timber Trade Leaflet No. 107. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 4 pp.
  3. Desch, H. E. 1941. Manual of Malayan Timbers. Vol. 1 Mal. For. Rec. No. 15.
  4. Engku Abdul Rahman Chik. 1988b. Basic And Grade Stresses For Some Malaysian Timbers. Malayan Forest Service Trade Leaflet No. 38. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board And Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 13 pp.
  5. Menon, K. D. 1957. Susceptible of Commercial Species of Malayan Timbers to Powder-post Beetle Attack. Malaysian Forest Service Trade Leaflet No.27.
  6. 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 Insitute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 48 pp.
  7. MS 544: Part 2: 2001: Code Of Practice For Structural Use Of Timber. Permissible Stress Design of Solid Timber.
  8. Redding, L. W. 1977. Resistance of Timbers to Impregnation with Creosote. F.P.R.I. Bulletin No. 54 HMSO London.
  9. Wong, T. M. 1982. A Dictionary of Malaysian Timbers. Revised by Lim, S. C. & Chung, R. C. K. Malayan Forest Record No. 30. Forest Research Institute Malaysia Kuala Lumpur. 201 pp.