The Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) Plant of the Month (POM) for May 2023 is Apitong, scientifically known as Dipterocarpus grandiflorus Blanco from the family Dipterocarpaceae. The tree is native to the Philippines. Its conservation Status according to IUCN is Endangered (under criteria A2cd) while according to DENR Administrative Order 2017-11, the plant is Vulnerable.
Apitong is a medium to large tree that grows up to 40 meters in height. Its trunk is straight with light gray slightly fissured bark while its leaves are big, alternate, and leathery. The flowers of this tree are large, rose-colored, and fragrant with petals that are creamy-white with a prominent stripe down the center. Meanwhile, its fruit is oblong with five wing-like structures (2 long and 3 short wings) on the calyx tube and with wings that are reddish when young, turning brown at maturity.
The tree is a valuable source of timber, with its wood used as pulp for paper production and good-quality charcoal. Balau (an oleo-resin or minyak keruing) that is obtained from the wood is used as a coating for waterproofing paper, baskets, boats, walls, and furniture. Moreover, Tannin-formaldehyde adhesive is produced from bark extracts. The bark of the Apitong tree is also considered tonic; when soaked in water, it is used to treat dizziness, and the hot decoction is used to treat rheumatism and liver ailments.
To know more about this plant, view its video presentation here: https://youtu.be/ScmZFpdihhE
By: AALimpiada and ACMalayba