Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Trees of Malaysia

Date of Issue: 1981-12-16
Denominations: 15 cents, 50 cents, 80 cents
Stamp Size: 30 mm x 41 mm
Paper: Unwatermarked white, coated postage stamp paper
Printing Process: Lithography
Printer: Messrs. John Waddington of Kirkstall Ltd., Leeds, England
Designer: Encik Md. Yusof Bin Haji Saman

Stamps in this Series:

First Day Cover:

The forests of Malaysia are of the tropical evergreen rain forest ecosystem. The background to the natural heritage of Malaysia and its great rain forests, which having evolved untouched over the past 130 million years, represent the oldest and richest forest as well as the most complex and diverse ecosystem the world has ever known. The flora and fauna in these forests are incredibly luxuriant, intricate and varied and provide fascinating subjects for postage stamps. There are about 8,000 species of flowering plants in Semenanjung Malaysia of which about 3,000 are trees. The trees are predominantly evergreen and some of the m grow to more than 60 m in height. There is no definite flowering season but there is a tendency for gregarious flowering once every 5 years.

About half of Malaysia is still covered with forests. Most of the forest types are dominated by trees of the Dipterocarp family which constitute about 70-80% of the exploited timber from these forests. Timbers known by the trade names Balau, Chengal, Kapur, Keruing, Meranti, all come from this family. Other dominant trees include Damar Minyak, Jelutong, Kempas, Merbau, Nyatoh, Sepetir, Tualang, etc. Tualang (Koompassia excelsa) is the third tallest tree in the world with a recorded height of 80m.

In addition to providing a major source of income from timber, these forests are also enriched with minor forest products like rattan, bamboo, dammars, medicinal plants as well as wild relatives of cultivated fruit trees.

15c denomination
English name: Rain Tree
Local name: Hujan-Hujan
Scientific name: Samanea Saman

The tree grows up to 25 m tall with widespread umbrella-shaped crown. The bark is fissured and chocolate colored whilst the trunk is slightly crooked. The leaves are 20-30 cm long, compound with 3-6 pairs of side stalks; 6-8 pairs of leaflets arise on each side stalk, which are small, (3x2 cm) and almost rhombic in shape.

Flowers which are pink in tassel-like heads are to be found in clusters from leaf axils with numerous stamens.

The fruit is long and straight, 15-25x1.5 cm, with many seeds which are separated by partitions; the seed measuring 1.5 cm long and is brown in color.

The Rain Tree was introduced to Peninsular Malaysia before 1876 and is now a common sight as a roadside shade tree throughout the country. Cross cuts of the tree are used as table tops due to the excellent growth rings they display.

50c denomination
Local name: Jelutong
Scientific name: Dyera Costulata

It is a magnificent huge cylindrical tree reaching over 60 m tall and 260 cm in diameter with dense domed crown. The bark is smooth or cracking; abundant white latex comes out from the cut bark, twigs and leaves. Leaves are arranged in circles around the coarsely ribbed twigs. The fruit has resemblance to a pair of horns. They split along one side when ripe. The flat seeds are surrounded by papery wings and are dispersed by wind. The timber is light hardwood excellent for toys, drawing boards, pencils, match splints, etc. The latex is used as a base for chewing gum.

Jelutong is found in the lowland and hill forests in most parts of Malaysia but nowhere abundant.

The trees shed their leaves after a long dry spell and remain bare for a few days before the new leaves appear. The flowers appear with the new leaves and the flowering period lasts for about 10 days. The fruits ripen in 2-3 months.

80c denomination
Local name : Kapur
Scientific name: Dryobalanops Aromatica
English name: Borneo Camphor Wood

It is one of the tallest trees of the Indo-Malayan tropics reaching up to 80 m in height. The bole is almost cylindrical with scaly or flaky bark.

Cut bark and crushed green leaves give a strong aromatic odor. The surface of the bark is often provided with hard resin. The trees have very fine conical crown when young. The leaves are small, oval in shape with close parallel veins.

Flowers are white and fragrant. The fruits have 5 long wings which help in the dispersal by wind.

The timber is a medium hardwood having a strong odor of Camphor when freshly cut. It is suitable for all classes of construction except when in contact with ground or water.

In Peninsular Malaysia, Kapur trees are confined to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia from Trengganu to Johore except for a patch of forest near Templer Park area in Selangor.

1 comment:

Suisho said...

these are lovely! I'm very fond of tree stamps. Now I wish I could have this.