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Family Dipterocarpaceae
Shorea contorta S. Vidal

Scientific names Common names
Pentacme contorta (S.Vidal) Merr. & Rolfe Lauan-puti (Tag.)
Pentacme mindanensis Fpxw. Lawaan (Tag.)
Pentacme paucinervis Brandis. Malaanonang (Tag., Bik.)
Shorea contorta S.Vidal Mindanao white lauan (Engl.)
  White lauan (Engl.)
Shorea contorta S.Vidal is an accepted name. KEW: Plants of the World Online
See study below on Shorea contorta and Pentacme mindanensis as separate species. (4)
White lauan as common name is shared by other species: Parashorea malaamomam, Shorea alom, Shorea palosapis (7)

Gen info
- The Dipterocarpaceae is the only timber-producing taxon in the angiosperm, and it is the most important source of timber in Southeast Asia.
- Shorea is a genus of about 106 species of mainly rainforest trees in the family Dipterocarpaceae . The genus is named after Sir John Shore, the governr-general of the Bristish East India Company, 1793-
- The timber of the trees of the genus shorea is sold under the common names lauan, luan, lawaan, maranti, saraya, balau, bangkirai, and Philippine mahogany. ("Philippine mahogany" sold in North America is not a true mahogany, but a mixture of woods from the genus shorea.)
- Shorea spp. are native to Southeast Asia, from northern India to Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
- Illegaly logging and exploitation for construction and furniture making has led to its diminution of Shorea contorta and classification as critically endangered.

Shorea contorta is a large tree, 50 m high and 182 cm in diameter. Crown is flat, irregular, and open. Leaves are simple, alternate, ovate, smooth, acuminate at the apex, rounded at the base. Secondary nerves are pairs of six, prominent and further apart. Leaf blade is 10 to 14 .5 cm long. Inflorescence is paniculate, 22 cm long if terminal, 14 cm long if axillary, singly or doubly branched, branchlet is 4 cm long. Flowers are 7 mm long and 4 mm wide, ovoid, lanceolate; the sepals ovoid, obtuse, the outer three somewhat larger; petals are broadly oblong, elliptic, acute; stamens are 15, subequal; the anther cells are linear and as long as the stout appendages; style is columnar, about thrice the length of the ovary. Fruit (nut) is enclosed by two long wings (up to 13 cm), one medium sized wing (8) cm and two small wings (about 4 cm). Healthy mature seed is elongated, 3-4 cm long. Wings at the base are contorted (contorta) around the nut. (1)

- Endemic throughout the Philippines
- Widely distributed in most provinces and islands from Babuyan to Mindanao.

- IUCN listed as "Critically Endangered."

- Study of dichlormethane extract of twigs of Shorea contorta a mixture of lup-20(29)-en-3-one (1), olean-12-en-3-one (2), and urs-12-en-3-one (3), while leaves yielded lutein (4), chlorophyll-a (5), and ß-sitosterol (6). (2)
- Dichlormethane extract of air-dried stems yielded a mixture of olean-12-en-3-one (1), urs-12-en-3-one (2) and lup-20(29)-en-3-one (3) in a 4:2:1 ratio, while leaves yielded y-sitosterol (4) and lutein (5). (5)

Parts used
Wood, bark, leaves..


- Decoction of bark used to treat cough.
- Wood decoction used to inhibit tumors.
- Decoction of bark and leaves used as antipyretic, tonic, and astringent.
- Root decoction used for treatment of diarrhea.
- Wood: Heartwood is creamy white to pinkish white, becoming light brown with age..
Light in weight, soft, and moderately durable; susceptible to fungi, dry wood borers and termites. (8)
- Commercial Uses: Veneer for interior of plywood; fiber or particle boards, interior joinery, furniture or furniture components, glued laminates, sliced venner. Also used for making boxes, crates and molding. (7)

Chemical Constituents / Twigs and Leaves:
(see constituents above)
Taxon Conflict / Elucidation by Leaf Morphometrics: While the taxonomy of several genera of Dipterocarpaceae is relatively well-defined , the genus Shorea remains problematic and controversial. In the Philippines, there are about 45 species of dipterocarps distributed in 6 genera. While well-studied, the identities of individual species remain ambiguous. Pentacme mindanensis and Shorea contorta have been considered synonymous. Based on description, P. mindanensis resembles Shorea contorta but differs in large leaves and large fruits. Morphological and molecular studies have confirmed that they are two different species. In this study, besides the longstanding knowledge on differences in leaves and fruits size, there is also the color of the inner bark—creamy-yellow in P. mindanensis and white in S. contorta. Study sought to provide more striking differences via leaf morphometrics, which has proven effective in resolving taxonomic problems and discriminating species, (4)


Updated February 2023
April 2022

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / Dipterocarpaceae: Shorea contorta det. John Rey Callado / Seedling / Copyright © 2012 by P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona (contact: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz) [ref. DOL48048] / Phytoimages.siu.edu
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / Dipterocarpaceae: White lauan / UPLBIMG / Binhi

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
White lauan: Shorea contorta / Maximo V Lanting, Concepcion MPalaypayon / Forest Tree Species witn Medicinal Uses, Vol 11: DENR Recommends
Chemical constituents of Shorea contorta / Concepcion Ragasa / Academia
Shorea contorta / Plants of the World Online

Elucidating differences between two confusing Shorea contorta S. Vid and Pentacme mindanensis Foxw. species of Dipterocarpaceae via leaf morphometrics: An initial investigation
/ Kean Roe F Mazo, Lowell G Aribal / Bangladesh J. Plant Taxon, 2020; 27(2): pp 461-465

Chemical constituents of Philippine endemic plants: Arenga tremula blanco and Shorea contorta Vidal
/ Dalton R Fortin / 2014 / Master Thesis: Master of Science in Chemistry
Shorea / Wiki[edia
Lauan white / Topix 7

Shorea contorta
/ Ken Fern: Tropical Plants Database / Useful Tropical Plants

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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