Family description

Deciduous or evergreen trees, bark usually with resin.
Leaves simple, alternate, untoothed, often with large stipules (sometimes dropped early, then leaving a clear scar).
Flowers regular, bisexual, usually hanging face downwards in axillary clusters. With 5 sepals fused at the base, 5 twisted petals +/- fused at the base, 5 to >100 stamens +/- fused into a tube, anthers often with long tips (connectives), 1 style, ovary inferior.
Fruits with 2-5 conspicuous wings (enlarged sepals), often fused into a tube at base and enclosing the nut.

General info

Distribution Pan-tropical, but only dominant and highly diverse in Southeast Asia. The family has 17 genera and 500 species.
Ecology Almost exclusively lowland adapted. Often the dominant canopy/emergent element in Asian forests. The wind dispersed habit is rather unusual for a tropical forest dominant (when compared to other tropical regions in the world which are dominated by animal dispersed trees).
Uses Most important tropical timber tree family in the world due to their large size, straight stems, high abundance, and intermediate weight wood. The resin is also used as varnish or as oil. Some species produce edible fruits.

Treated genera

  • Dipterocarpus (Large stipules, leaf stalk thickened at top, strong venation, leaf folded between two pairs of secondary veins, wavy margin, flowers usually large, fruits with two wings placed on top of the nut)
  • Hopea (leaf stalk more or less equally thick along whole length, fruits with two wings from base of the nut)
  • Shorea (leaf stalk more or less equally thick along whole length, fruits with three wings from base of the nut)
  • Vatica (messy leaf arrangement/branching, leaf stalk thickened at top, sometimes gland on veins near leaf margin, fruits with no, two or five wings from base of the nut)

Dipterocarpaceae.pdf

Dipterocarpus_confertus.jpg
Dipterocarpus confertus

Hopea_beccariana.jpg
Hopea beccariana

Shorea_ovalis.jpg
Shorea ovalis

Vatica_rassak.jpg
Vatica rassak