Family Dipterocarpaceae Blume 1825 nom conserv the Meranti Family

Physical description: The family Dipterocarpaceae consists of about 16 genera and nearly 600 species of tropical timber trees, some of which are the tallest of all Magnoliopsida, commonly accumulating resins (triterpenes and sesquiterpenes), tannins, proanthocyanidins and ellagic acid. The wood of Dipterocarpaceae is extremely hard and dense, and is of excellent quality. The leaves in this family are simple, stipulate, alternate, particularly thick and quite hard. The flowers are perfect and regular, and arranged in an axillary raceme or panicles. The calyx comprises of 5 imbricate sepals, and the corolla comprises of 5, distinct or connate, convolute in bud and spirally twisted petals. The andrecium consists of 10 trunks of bundles, 5-several, and is initiated in centrifugal sequence. The gynecium comprises of 2-5 carpels forming a compound, plurilocular ovary with axillary placentation. The fruits are dry, woody and quite often winged with the persistent sepals.

Pharmaceutical interest: Belonging to the family Dipterocarpaceae are several very valuable timber trees such as Shorea robusta Gaertn. (Saul tree). Dipterocarpaceae often produce resins: Vateria indica L. (piny resin, Indian copal, white dammar), Dryobalanops aromatica Gaertn. (Sumatra camphor tree), Dipterocarpus turbinatus Gaertn. (gurjun basalm, garjan or kanyin oil) and Dipterocarpus tuberculatus Roxb. (eng oil). The resin obtained from Vateria indica L., is used to make ointments, stop flatulence, treat bronchitis and piles, heal boils and to invigorate health. The resins (gurjun) obtained from

a number of species of plants classified within the genera Dipterocarpus are fixatives in perfumery and are used to prepare guaiazulene.

Dammar (British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1923) consists of the resins obtained from trees classified within the genus Shorea, Hopea, and Balanocarpus. Dammar is used to make varnishes, a mounting agent in microscopy and plaster masses. The nuts of Shorea macro-phylla contain an edible fat, which can be used instead of cocoa butter in the manufacture of chocolates. In China, an oil obtained from the seeds of Dipterocarpus lamellatus was used to treat leprosy. There is an expanding body of evidence to suggest that oligomers of resveratrol and oligos-tilbenes of Dipterocarpaceae are remarkably cytotoxic and it will be interesting to learn whether more intensive future research on dipterocarps will disclose any molecules of chemotherapeutic interest. In Southeast Asia, about 20 Dipte-rocarpaceae plant species are medicinal. Note that the resins of dipterocarps are often used to heal wounds.

Continue reading here: Dipterocarpus alatus Roxb

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