Teak, also known by its botanical name Tectona grandis, is a timber species that primarily grows in tropical environments, and can be found on the landmass that is located within 10° degrees of the equator. It only thrives in locations with distinct wet and dry seasons. The tree grows rapidly, and on favorable sites may reach up to 150 feet (45 meters) in height. The trunk may reach 3 feet (1 meter) in diameter. Its rate of growth depends on several factors, including the quality of its environment, (topography, drainage, soil and seed quality), as well as tropical temperatures, humidity, and rainfall. Teak trees grow straight and the regenerative life is excellent.
Teak is a hard, heavy tree with a rough bark that is extremely durable and resistant to moisture and the drying effects of weather exposure due to its substantial oil content. This heavy oil content allows teakwood to naturally protect itself from insects, bacterial diseases, fungi, and forest fires.
Teakwood is a valuable wood because it can withstand the rigors of manufacturing processes without decaying, cracking, or warping. Teakwood is remarkably versatile, making it one of the most sought after timbers in the world. The principal uses for teakwood are decks, trim and detail work in expensive boats, and fine furniture, flooring, carving, joinery, cabinetwork, paneling, and veneer. Teak is unique in that it does not cause rust or corrosion when it comes in contact with metal.
The picture to the right shows rows of teak trees on a plantation. The timber comes from Perum Perhutani, a State-Owned Enterprise established under the authority of the Indonesian Department of Forestry and Plantations.