The Chittagong Wood is native to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Its common name is derived from Chittagong, a large port city on the southeastern coast of Bangladesh.
In its natural habitat, the Chittagong Wood is regarded as a pioneer species – one of the first species to colonise an area after disturbance. It is commonly found on slopes and limestone hillside forests where it can reach up to 40 m in height.
In Singapore, the Chittagong Wood grows up to 25 m tall. It is a deciduous tree with a large, rounded crown and multi-forked branches that start high up on the trunk. The leaves grow in clusters at the ends of branches. They are 30 to 50 cm long, and compound with each leaf consisting of paired leaflets with toothed margins.
The sweetly scented flowers are small, cream to white in colour, and borne in clusters at the branch tips. Red and yellow dyes can be produced from the flowers.
Valued for its satiny sheen and fine grain, the timber is used in carpentry to make high-grade furniture, decorative carvings and construction material. It is suspected that this species is threatened by over-exploitation for timber and habitat loss.
This Chittagong Wood was endorsed as a Heritage Tree in 2018, and is the first tree of its species to be endorsed in Singapore.