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Scientific name

Gonystylus spp. (mixed group comprised of over 20 species). Family: Gonystylaceae.

Local names

Melawis (Malaysia), mavota (Fiji), nununa (Solomon Islands), bagyo, lanutan (Philippines).

Description and natural occurrence

Medium to tall hardwoods attaining 50 m in height and 1.2 m diameter on good sites. They have a straight bole and aerial roots but no true buttress. The bark is grey, brown, or red-brown, scaly and covered in very fine irritating hairs. The stems are sometimes fluted at the base.

The mixture of species marketed as ramin occurs in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. They grow in coastal swamps and peat forests but can also be found in low altitude rainforests.

Wood appearance

Colour. Sapwood not differentiated from heartwood. It is a uniform pale straw or cream white.

Grain. Grain is straight or shallowly interlocked. Texture moderately fine to even.

Wood properties

Density. 630 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 1.6 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.

Strength groups. S4 unseasoned, SD4 seasoned.

Stress grades. F7, F8, F11, F14 (unseasoned), F11, F14, F17, F22 (seasoned), when visually stress graded in accordance with AS 2082-2000, Timber - Hardwood - Visually stress-graded for structural purposes.

Joint groups. JD3 seasoned.

Shrinkage to 12% MC. 4.5% (tangential); 1.7% (radial).

Unit shrinkage. 0.13% (tangential); 0.16% (radial). These values apply to timber of G. macrophyllus reconditioned after seasoning.

Durability above-ground. Class 4 - life expectancy less than 7 years.

Durability in-ground. Class 4 - life expectancy less than 5 years.

Lyctine susceptibility. Untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctid borer attack.

Termite resistance. Not resistant.

Preservation. Relatively easy to impregnate with preservatives.

Seasoning. Ramin seasons well but may be prone to surface checking and end splits, particularly in thicker sections. It is prone to sap stain fungi attack.

Hardness. Firm (rated 4 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining. Easy to work to a smooth finish with hand and machine tools, although moderate blunting of cutting edges can occur.

Fixing. Screws well, but pre-drilling recommended when nailing near board ends, to prevent splitting.

Gluing. Glues well.

Finishing. Painting, staining and polishing characteristics are good.


Construction. Protected framing, internal flooring.

Decorative. Furniture, plywood, turnery, picture frames, mouldings and joinery, veneer, carving, panelling.

Others. Non-impact tool handles, toys, dowels, drawers.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood. Not differentiated by colour.

Heartwood. Cream white to pale straw.

Texture. Moderately fine, uniform, generally straight grain.

Wood structure

Vessels. Solitary and radial groups up to four cells, medium size, uniform distribution. Vessel lines visible but not prominent.

Parenchyma. Aliform with thin extended wings, sometimes confluent.

Rays. Fine.

Other features

Burning splinter test. Wood burns to ash.

Further reading

Bootle, K 2005, 'Wood in Australia: types, properties and uses', 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill, Sydney.

Hopewell, G (ed.) 2006, 'Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland, Class 1 and Class 10 buildings', books 1 and 2, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.

Ilic, J 1991, 'CSIRO atlas of hardwoods', Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.

Standards Australia, 2000, 'AS 2082-2000: Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes', Standards Australia.