Bollywood

Scientific name

Litsea leefeana, Litsea glutinosa, Litsea reticulata, Litsea bindoniana, Neolitsea australiensis, Cinnamonium baileyanum. Family: Lauraceae

Local names

Bollywood, bollygum, bolly beech, brown beech, brown bollywood, soft bollygum, sycamore

Description and natural occurrence

A medium to tall tree attaining a height of 25-40 m and a stem of diameter of 1-2 m. The trunk is not prominently buttressed. The bark is brown, sometimes grey, rough textured and sheds in roundish flakes leaving shallow depressions, giving it a rough, scaly appearance.

Distributed mainly in the coastal rainforests of northern New South Wales and Queensland.

L. glutinosa: north of Cairns, North Queensland.

L. leefeana: Bellinger River, New South Wales to Endeavour River, North Queensland.

L. reticulata: Hawkesbury River, New South Wales to Cairns, North Queensland.

Wood appearance

Colour. The heartwood varies from light cream to pale straw and normally there is no marked colour variation between sapwood and heartwood.

Grain. A firm, straight grained species with open vessel lines. Usually there is no pronounced figure.

Wood properties

Density. L. leefeana 480 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 2.0 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne. L. glutinosa 515 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 2.0 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne. L. reticulata 530 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 2.0 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne. L. bindoniana 515 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 2.0 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne. N. australiensis 675 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 2.0 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne. C. baileyanum 560 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 2.0 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne, when visually stress-graded in accordance with AS 2082-2000, Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes.

Strength groups. L. leefeana (S7) unseasoned; (SD7) seasoned. L. glutinosa (S7) unseasoned; (SD7) seasoned. L. reticulata S5 unseasoned; SD6 seasoned. L. bindoniana (S7) unseasoned; (S7) seasoned. N. australiensis (6) unseasoned; (SD6) seasoned. C. baileyanum (S7) unseasoned; (SD7) seasoned.

Stress grades. L. leefeana F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11 (seasoned). L. glutinosa F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11 (seasoned). L. reticulata F5, F7, F8, F11 (unseasoned), F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned). L. bindoniana F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11 (seasoned). N. australiensis F4, F5, F7, F8 (unseasoned) F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned). C. baileyanum F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11 (seasoned).

Joint groups. L. leefeana, L. glutinosa, L. reticulata, L. bindoniana, C. baileyanum J4 unseasoned; JD4 seasoned. N. australiensis JD3 seasoned.

Shrinkage in 12% MC. 3.6% (tangential); 1.4% (radial) for L. leefeana. 5.0% (tangential); 2.0% (radial) for L. reticulata.

Unit shrinkage. 0.27% (tangential); 0.14 % (radial) for L. leefeana. 0.23% (tangential); 0.14% (radial) for L. reticulata.

Durability above-ground. L. leefeana, L. glutinosa, L. reticulata, L. bindoniana, N. australiensis Class (4) - life expectancy less than 7 years. C. baileyanum Class 3 - life expectancy 7 to 15 years.

Durability in-ground. L. leefeana, L. glutinosa, L. reticulata, L. bindoniana, N. australiensis Class 4 - life expectancy less than 5 years. C. baileyanum Class 3 - life expectancy 5 to 15 years.

Lyctine susceptibility. Untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctine borer attack.

Termite resistance. L. leefeana, L. glutinosa, L. reticulata, L. bindoniana, N. australiensis, C. baileyanum not resistant.

Preservation. Sapwood readily accepts preservative impregnation but penetration of heartwood is negligible using currently available commercial processes.

Seasoning. Can be satisfactorily dried using conventional air and kiln seasoning methods.

Hardness. Soft (rated 5 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining. Machines and turns well to a smooth surface.

Fixing. No difficulty has been experienced with the use of standard fittings and fastenings.

Gluing. Can be satisfactorily bonded using standard procedures.

Finishing. Seasoned timber surfaces will readily accept stain, polish and paint.

Uses

Construction. Once used in general house framing, linings, mouldings and non-structural joinery, but rarely used in these applications now.

Decorative. Plywood, furniture, turnery, carving, picture frames.

Others. Boat building (light). Has been used for aircraft components, beehives, brush stocks, roller and venetian blinds, boat oars, pattern making, cooperage.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood. Not significantly different from heartwood.

Heartwood. Light cream to pale straw colour.

Texture. Medium, straight grained.

Wood structure

Growth rings. Generally absent.

Vessels. Medium sized, some solitary but mostly in short radial multiples of up to four. Vessel lines distinct on dressed surfaces.

Parenchyma. Absent or indistinct under a lens.

Rays. Fine.

Other features

Burning splinter test. Burns completely to a minute buff grey filament.

Surface characteristics. Dressed surfaces of this timber are highly lustrous.

Odour. Exhibits a faint spicy odour from freshly cut surfaces.

Further reading

Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, 'Forest trees of Australia', 5th edn, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Australia.

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.

Last updated 14 October 2010