All about Teak

Is Teak a Coniferous, Evergreen, or Deciduous Tree? 11 Teak Wood Facts

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When you check on the internet if a teak is a Coniferous, Evergreen, or Deciduous Tree, there can be quite a bit of confusion. I have seen some who say that teak is an evergreen tree.

Teak is a deciduous, not evergreen or coniferous tree. Teak leaves do not fall off in the wintertime but in the dry season; in Asia, where teak trees are naturally grown, the dry season is not always the same as winter. As the teak leaves do fall off, the tree is considered to be a deciduous tree.

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Teak Is a Deciduous Tree

Even though teak leaves fall off during the dry season, teak is considered a deciduous tree. The definition of the term deciduous is:

“falling off or shed seasonally or at a certain stage of development in the life cycle.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Online, you will find quite a bit of confusion surrounding exactly what kind of tree the teak tree is. Some people say teak is an evergreen tree as it has green leaves during the winter months. But, in definition of an evergreen tree is a tree that remains green all year round.

As the teak tree is grown in warmer and moist climates, the trees will lose their leaves in the dry season, which is not always the same as the winter season in most parts of the world. In hot Asian localities, the leaves will remain on the trees in January but will start to come off in March or when the dry season in some parts of Asia starts.

When the first monsoon rains fall, the teak tree leaves will start to emerge at the end of the dry season. The teak tree is deciduous as it will lose its leaves for a season or period.

A Teak Forest
An example of a Teak forest Copyright: CHARAN RUTTANASUPPHASIRI

11 Other Little Known Facts About The Teak Tree

The teak tree, known for its durable and beautiful wood, is a species that has fascinated and served humanity for centuries. Beyond its well-known uses in furniture and shipbuilding, there are numerous lesser-known aspects of this remarkable tree that are equally intriguing. In this exploration, we uncover 11 little-known facts about the teak tree, each shedding light on its unique characteristics, ecological importance, and the surprising ways it impacts our world.

From its extraordinary resilience in various climates to its role in local ecosystems and traditional practices, these facts will provide a deeper appreciation of this extraordinary species. Whether you’re a botany enthusiast, a woodworking professional, or simply curious about the natural world, these insights into the teak tree will enrich your understanding and admiration for one of nature’s most valuable and fascinating resources.

1 – Teak Is Part Of The Verbenaceae Plant Family

Teak is part of the Verbenaceae plant family. The Verbenaceae family of plants is a plant family that is found worldwide but mainly in tropical climates. This plant family has over 30 general and some 1100 species; many of the Verbenaceae plant family species are important for their flowers.

2 – Teak Is Named From a Malayalam Word

Teak is from the Malayalam word “tekka.” Malayalam is a Dravidian language spoken in the southern Indian state of Kerala; the Malayalam language is very close to the Indian language of Tamil.

It is very interesting that “Teak” comes from an Indian word; one of the places where the teak tree is native in India. This shows that for many years, the Indians understood and knew about the teak tree and wood.

3 – Teak is Native to India, Myanmar, and Thailand

Even though teak is grown in many parts of the world, it is only native to a few countries such as India, Myanmar (Burma), and Thailand. The native-grown Teak trees are only found inland, and they are not found near the coast.

Some forms of the teak tree have also been found in the Philippines, Java, and the Malay archipelago. Teak is also planted in Africa, Central America, and South America.

4 – Most Teak Flowers Are Sterile

The teak tree has a flower that will fall off and drop to the ground; these flowers have seeds, but most of the flowers that fall to the ground are sterile. This makes it difficult for teak to be grown naturally in a forest.

It also means that teak is a tree not easily grown, especially in a natural forest environment. This is why today, a lot of the teak is plantation teak that is grown in a controlled environment on a teak plantation.

5 – Teak Wood is Highly Valued and Extremely Durable

Teak wood is highly valued and has extraordinary durability. In places like India and Myanmar, teak wood beams are found inside 1,000-year-old buildings. As these teak wood beams are indoors and in a covered area, they are still in excellent condition.

This means that with proper care, teak wood can literally last for 1000 years. It is this longevity and durability that ensure teak wood is highly valued.

6 – Teak Wood and Ship Building

As teak wood is so durable, teak is used in shipbuilding. Even today, many luxury yachts and other ships use teak as the preferred wood. This is because teak wood works well in moist climates. Teak does not rot or get fungus as many other kinds of wood.

7 – Teak is Ideal for Decks

Teak wood is also ideal for decks on a ship and a deck of houses or other buildings. This is because the high silica content of the teak wood makes it an ideal choice for a deck. The high silica content ensures you will not skid easily on a teak deck.

8 – Termites Rarely attack Teak

Termites rarely attack teak wood. This is why teak has been used for thousands of years and is still termite and pest-free. Teak is not completely resistant to Marine borers, but even with this, teak is an ideal wood as it is considered relatively pest-free.

9 – Myanmar (Burma) Produces Most of The World’s Fine Teak

Myanmar is one of the world’s major suppliers of teakwood. Illegal logging has been an issue in Myanmar, so that is why there is a lot of controversy concerning Myanmar’s teak production. You may find teak furniture manufacturers who can not purchase Myanmar teak wood.

Myanmar’s political situation continues to be more difficult. It is estimated that Myanmar’s political instability will hurt the supply of Myanmar teak wood. This is important as Myanmar is estimated to supply 80% of the world’s teak.

Teak is naturally grown in Myanmar, so it is also a highly valued commodity; Myanmar teak is also considered perfect teak wood, especially for luxury yachts and shipbuilders.

10 – Teak is Ideal for Outdoor Furniture

Because of teaks’ inherent qualities, teak wood is ideal for outdoor furniture. In fact, for most high-end outdoor furniture manufacturers and outdoor furniture brands, teakwood is their preferred wood. Teak wood has all the ideal qualities that make it the ideal wood used in an outdoor setting.

If you want to learn more about teak wood, you can read All About Teak Wood And Outdoor Teak Furniture Care by clicking here.

11 – Like any Outdoor Wood, Teak Must be Cared For

Like any wood you decide to use outdoors or for outdoor furniture, you must take the step necessary to care for your teakwood, especially if you live in a climate with harsh winter months. Even though teak is solid and durable, you should treat the wood properly.

We recommend that you bring your teak furniture indoors during the winter months, and if you want it to keep its natural teak color, use oil on the teak. Your teak wood is only as durable as you are willing to take care of your furniture.

If you want to learn more about teak wood and how Mondoro can help you.

Find out more about how Mondoro can help you create, develop, and manufacture excellent home decor and furniture products – don’t hesitate to contact me, AnitaCheck out my email by clicking here or become a part of our community and join our newsletter by clicking here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is teak a deciduous tree?

Yes, teak is a deciduous tree. It sheds its leaves during the dry season, which may or may not coincide with winter depending on the region.

When do teak trees shed their leaves?

Teak trees typically shed their leaves during the dry season, which is often associated with periods of reduced rainfall or drought.

Are teak trees evergreen or coniferous?

Teak trees are neither evergreen nor coniferous. They are classified as deciduous trees due to the shedding of their leaves during certain seasons.

Where are teak trees naturally grown?

Teak trees are native to Southeast Asia, including countries like India, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Indonesia.

Can teak wood be used indoors as well as outdoors?

Yes, teak wood is versatile and can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications, including furniture, flooring, decking, and decorative items.

Does teak wood require special maintenance?

While teak wood is highly durable, it benefits from regular cleaning and occasional reapplication of protective oils or sealants to maintain its appearance and extend its lifespan.

Is teak wood sustainable and environmentally friendly?

Teak wood can be sourced sustainably from responsibly managed plantations. Look for certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure the wood comes from sustainable sources.

Can teak wood be recycled or repurposed?

Yes, teak wood can be recycled or repurposed into new products or used for crafting purposes, reducing waste and extending its lifespan.

What is Solid Wood vs. Engineered Wood?

Solid wood is cut down from the tree, cut into wood boards, and then used for manufacturing. On the other hand, engineered wood is considered man-made as it is usually manufactured with wood chips or wood shavings and an adhesive. Today the manufacturing of engineered wood is extremely technical.

You can learn more by reading What is Solid Wood vs. Engineered Wood? by clicking here.

What Are Some Questions To Ask When Considering A Solid Wood Furniture Manufacturer?

Some of the things we look at when we go into a new solid wood furniture manufacture is if they have in-house kiln wood drying. We also like to know if they understand how to properly join the wood and if they have the equipment to do it. Also if the manufacturer is in a hot and tropical climate, if they have a dry room to help control the wood moisture levels. We like to work with factories that will cut and shape all the wood themselves and also have in-house finishing facilities.

You can learn more by reading 5 Questions To Ask When Considering A Solid Wood Furniture Manufacturer by clicking here.

Anita Hummel
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