1. Family: Lamiaceae Martinov
    1. Genus: Tectona L.f.
      1. Tectona grandis L.f.

        Tectona grandis (teak) is a tall tree from southeast Asia and is widely cultivated for its durable wood. It is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), which is perhaps better known for its aromatic members including culinary herbs such as basil, oregano and rosemary.


    Verbenaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1992

    It is a large tree at maturity, up to 50 m..
    Large elliptic leaves 10–100 cm. long, 5–50 cm. wide, mostly about 30 × 25 cm., stellate-tomentose beneath and often with red coloration on rubbing.
    Inflorescences massive, ± 40 cm. long, 35 cm. wide with stellate-tomentose axes and small white flowers, the corolla-tube ± 1.5–3 mm. long.
    Fruit subglobose, ± 1.5 cm. long and wide, enclosed in the inflated bladdery calyx 2.5 cm. long and wide.
    Information on teak has been summarised by Krishna Murthy (Bibliography on teak, Dehra Dun, 1981) and Moldenke gives much information (Phytologia 1:154–164 (1935) & 5:112–120 (1954)).

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description

    Tectona grandis (teak) is a tall tree from southeast Asia and is widely cultivated for its durable wood, but has also been used for traditional medicine in southeast Asia. It is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), which is perhaps better known for its aromatic members including culinary herbs such as basil, oregano and rosemary.

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Tectona grandis has a natural distribution from India to Vietnam and Thailand. It is also found in cultivation throughout the tropics.


    Teak trees can grow up to 40 m high. The bark is scaly and the leaves are opposite one another. The leaves are 6 – 75 cm long, 8 - 45 cm wide, and hairless on the upper surface when mature, with many star-shaped hairs below.

    The calyxes form a balloon-like shape enveloping the fruit. The corolla is regular, and white to cream-coloured. The fruit is pale yellow, of 1.2 to 2 cm diameter, and covered with star-shaped hairs.

    Threats and conservation

    Although the species itself is common, the unique teak forests of India, Burma and Thailand are under threat from over-exploitation.


    Tectona grandis is the source of a high quality general purpose hardwood known as teak. The timber is used for ship decking, flooring, furniture and construction. It is particularly recommended for construction in seaside environments (such as bridges and docks) because it is resistant to shipworm, a wood-boring sea mollusc ( Teredo spp., Teredinidae). Quinones in the sawdust inhibit the growth of several species of the fungi that cause wood rot.

    Leaves of Tectona grandis Teak is widely cultivated in the tropics; the main producers are Burma, India, Thailand and Indonesia. Like all forests, plantations of teak can act as carbon stores; in Panama, for example, teak plantations sequester carbon dioxide at a rate of 191.1 mg per hectare during a twenty-year rotation. Soil analyses in Costa Rica indicate that teak plantations may improve the soil quality of lands previously under pasture. In Tanzania, wildlife forage is provided by young teak plantations where grass and herbs grow in the understorey.

    Teak has traditionally been used in southeast Asia for medicine, commonly for its astringent and diuretic properties and against swelling. Its traditional use for diabetes has been supported by laboratory tests in which extracts of the bark have been shown to lower insulin resistance in mice. The wood has also been said to relieve skin irritations caused by handling cashew nuts ( Anacardium occidentale , Anacardiaceae) and marking nuts ( Semecarpus anacardium , Anacardiaceae).

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

    Collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank:  One

    Seed storage behaviour: Orthodox - the seeds of this plant survive being dried without significantly reducing their viability, and are therefore amenable to long-term frozen storage such as at the MSB

    Composition values: Oil content 34%


    Tectona grandis grows best in a warm, tropical climate with a temperature above 22 ºC. Teak prefers well-drained, fertile soils and is a strong light demander.

    Trees are 96 to 100% self-incompatible. The species is hermaphroditic and pollinated by insects, especially bees. Propagation by seed involves pre-treatment to break the dormancy, involving wetting and drying the seed every 12 hours, over a period of two weeks. When seeds are sown in a mix of sand and coir, at 22 to 25ºC, germination will take place within two to four weeks. The germination rate is low, and teak seedlings need shading.

    Vegetative propagation can be achieved by grafting and budding. Tissue cultures have also been developed for the propagation of teak.

    India, Thailand, Vietnam
    This species naturally occurs in deciduous forests, but is planted commonly along roadsides and in large plantations throughout the tropics.
    IUCN status of Least Concern (LC).

    None known.

    Building material, medicinal.



    Found In:

    Assam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

    Introduced Into:

    Andaman Is., Angola, Belize, Benin, Cabinda, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Gambia, Gulf of Guinea Is., Honduras, Jawa, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Panamá, Philippines, Southwest Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Togo, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela

    Common Names


    Tectona grandis L.f. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status
    Jan 1, 1939 Netherlands Indies Forestry Service [bb25521], Indonesia K000932050
    Jan 1, 1939 Netherlands Indies Forestry Service [bb25521], Indonesia K000932051
    May 13, 1923 Bünnemeijer, H.A.B. [10702], Indonesia K000932038
    Jan 1, 1923 Thomson, G. [46a], India K000249764
    Jan 1, 1923 Thomson, G. [46a], India K000249765
    Kochummen, K.M. [26233], Malaysia K000897973
    Kochummen, K.M. [26233], Malaysia K000897974
    Aziz [51907], Malaysia K000897975
    Thorel, M. le [1979], Vietnam K000897976
    Thorel, M. le [1279], Vietnam K000897977
    Thorel, M. le [1279], Vietnam K000897978
    Meynant [s.n.], Vietnam K000897979
    Pabbé Bon, M. [6094], Vietnam K000897980
    Thorel, M. le [1279], Vietnam K000897981
    Kerr, A.F.G. [1297], Thailand K000897982
    Esser, H.J. [0471], Thailand K000897983
    Kostermans, A. [737], Thailand K000897984
    Kostermans, A. [737], Thailand K000897985
    Chantaranothai, P. [90/659], Thailand K000897986
    Keith, H.G. [A1530], Malaysia K000932031
    Keith, H.G. [A1530], Malaysia K000932032
    Marsemi [1], Indonesia K000932033
    Ambri [900], Indonesia K000932034
    Ambri [900], Indonesia K000932035
    Robinson, C.B. [298], Indonesia K000932036
    Robinson, C.B. [298bis], Indonesia K000932037
    s.coll. [s.n.], Indonesia K000932039
    Koorders, S.H. [29623], Indonesia K000932040
    Herb. Blume [s.n.], Indonesia K000932041
    Horsfield, T. [s.n.], Indonesia K000932042
    Voogd, C.N.A. de [s.n.], Indonesia K000932043
    Koorders, S.H. [29917], Indonesia K000932044
    Jugah ak. Tagi [39941], Malaysia K000932045
    Jugah ak. Tagi [39941], Malaysia K000932046
    Abu Bakar, F.R. [A277], Malaysia K000932047
    Abu Bakar, F.R. [A277], Malaysia K000932048
    Cuadra, A. [A2471], Malaysia K000932049
    Cuadra, A. [A272], Malaysia K000932052
    Gibot, A. [40932], Malaysia K000932053
    Rahman [6751], Malaysia K000932054
    Rahman [6751], Malaysia K000932055
    Williams, R.S. [3123], Philippines K000932056
    Miranda, D.P. [18947], Philippines K000932057
    Hutchinson, W.I. [3959], Philippines K000932058
    Hutchinson, W.I. [3959], Philippines K000932059
    Hutchinson, W.I. [3959], Philippines K000932060
    Romero, E.M. [29078], Philippines K000932061
    Romero, E.M. [29078], Philippines K000932062
    Merrill, E.D. [837], Philippines K000932063
    Pray, F.L. [15407], Philippines K000932064
    Barbon [1894], Philippines K000932065
    Pray, F.L. [15407], Philippines K000932066
    Miras [24457], Philippines K000932067
    Hooker f. [83], Pakistan K000249763
    Styles, B.T. [61], Uganda 25694.023

    First published in Suppl. Pl.: 151 (1782)

    Accepted in:

    • [1] (2016) Englera 29(3): 1-356
    • [2] Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015) The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan . Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [3] Girmansyah, D. & al. (eds.) (2013) Flora of Bali an annotated checklist . Herbarium Bogorensis, Indonesia
    • [4] (2012) Flora Mesoamericana 4(2): 1-533. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
    • [5] Garcia-Mendoza, A.J. & Meave, J.A. (eds.) (2012) Diversidad florística de Oaxaca: de musgos a angiospermas (colecciones y listas de especies) , ed. 2: 1-351. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
    • [7] (2010) Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 34: 42-68
    • [13] Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008) Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela . Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela
    • [14] Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008) Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas . SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
    • [16] (2006) Garcia de Orta, Série de Botânica 17(2): 5-68
    • [17] Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006) Flore Analytique du Bénin . Backhuys Publishers
    • [18] (2005) Flora Zambesiaca 8(7): 1-161. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [19] Govaerts, R. (2003) World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS . The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [23] Jones, M. (1991) A checklist of Gambian plants . Michael Jones, The Gambia College
    • [24] Brunel, J.F., Hiepo, P. & Scholz, H. (eds.) (1984) Flore Analytique du Togo Phanérogames: 1-751. GTZ, Eschborn


    • [6] (2011) Bothalia 41: 41-82
    • [8] Boley J.D., Drew A.P., Andrus R.E. (2009). Effects of active pasture, teak ( Tectona grandis) and mixed native plantations on soil chemistry in Costa Rica. Forest Ecology and Management. 257: 2254-2261.
    • [9] Bonnington C., Weaver D., Fanning E. (2009). The use of teak ( Tectona grandis) plantations by large mammals in the Kilombero Valley, southern Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology. 47: 138-145.
    • [10] Derwisch S., Schwedenmann L., Olschewski R., Holscher D. (2009). Estimation and economic evaluation of aboveground carbon storage of Tectona grandis in Western Panama. New Forests. 37: 227-240.
    • [11] Ghaisas M., Navghare V., Takawale A., Zope V., Tanwar M., Deshpande A. (2009). Effect of Tectona grandis Linn. on dexamethasone-induced insulin resistance in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 122: 304-307.
    • [12] (2008) Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 32: 403-500
    • [15] Sumthong P., Romero-Gonzalez R.R., Verpoorte R. (2008). Identification of anti-wood rot compounds in teak ( Tectona grandis L.f.) sawdust extract. Journal of Wood Chemistry and Technology. 28: 247-260.
    • [20] Warrier P.K. (1996). Indian Medicinal Plants: a Compendium of 500 Species. Orient Longman, Hyderabad.

    • [21] Gonzalez, F., Nelson Diaz, J. & Lowry, P. (1995) Flora Illustrada de San Andrés y Providencia . Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Colombia
    • [22] Soerianegara I, Lemmens RHMJ (1993). Plant Resources of South-East Asia 5(1). Timber trees: Major commercial timbers. Pudoc, Wageningen.
    • [25] Nadkarni A.K. (1976). Indian Materia Medica. Volume 1. 3rd edn. Popular Prakashan, Bombay.
    • [26] J.P.M. Brenan, Check-lists of the Forest Trees and Shrubs of the British Empire no. 5, part II, Tanganyika Territory p. 641 (1949).
    • [27] R. O. Williams, Useful and Ornamental Plants in Zanzibar and Pemba p. 463 (1949).
    • [28] Dale, Descr. List. Introd. Trees Uganda: 67 (1937)),.


    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    [A] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2017). Published on the internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp
    [B] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [C] © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    [E] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Kew Library Art and Archives
    [F] Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/