The Standard Malaysian Name for the timber of Azadirachta excelsa (Meliaceae). Other vernacular names applied include limpaga (Sabah), which is also applicable to some other members of the family, and ranggu (Sabah and Sarawak), which is also applicable to Koordersiodendron pinnatum (Anacardiaceae). Only one species has been recorded in this country. The sapwood is straw-coloured or pale red and is moderately sharply differentiated from the heartwood, which is reddish brown.

Also known as Neem (India); Bawang kunyit, Kayu bawang, Mimba, Nibwak and Surian bawang (Indonesia); Azadirachta (Papua New Guinea); Danggo and Maranggo (Philippines); Sadao-thiam and Thiam (Thailand); and Sau dau (Vietnam).


The timber is moderately hard and moderately heavy with a density of 560-770 kg/m3 air dry. It is classified under Light Hardwood in Malaysia. However, sentang from the plantations may have lower density, e.g. 5-year-old sentang (340-600 kg/m3) and 8-year-old sentang (482-648 kg/m3).


The timber is non-durable.


Texture is slightly coarse and uneven, due to a tendency towards a ring-porous structure.


The timber falls into Strength Group C (Burgess, 1958).


It is generally easy to work, taking a good finish. The boring properties are rated as good and planing and shaping as moderately good. Tests in Sabah showed that the timber peels well without pretreatment.


The timber seasons fairly rapidly, with only slight twisting and end-checking as the main sources of degrade. 13 mm thick boards take approximately 2 months to air dry, while 38 mm thick boards take 4 months.


Shrinkage is very low with both radial and tangential shrinkage averaging 0.5%.


The timber is suitable for high class joinery works, furniture, interior finishing, panelling, mouldings, partitioning, plywood, flooring and ornamental items.


  1. Burgess, H. J. 1958. Strength Grouping of Malaysian Timbers. Malayan Forest Service Trade Leaflet No.25. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 15 pp.
  2. Menon, P. K. B. 1986. Uses of Some Malaysian Timbers. Revised by Lim, S. C. Timber Trade Leaflet No. 31. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Forest Research Insitute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 48 pp.
  3. Wong, T. M. 1982. A Dictionary of Malaysian Timbers. Revised by Lim, S. C. & Chung, R. C. K. Malayan Forest Record No. 30. Forest Research Institute Malaysia Kuala Lumpur. 201 pp.