The Standard Malaysian Name for the timber of Afzelia rhomboidea (Leguminosae). This species is found in Sabah and Sarawak only. Vernacular names applied include ipil (Sabah and Sarawak) with various epithets and merbau tanduk (Sabah). Only one species has been recorded in Malaysia. The sapwood is grey-white and sharply differentiated from the heartwood, which is reddish yellow, red to dirty red-brown, often with some streaks.

Also known as Beng (Cambodia); Katarum, Ketarum, Kijulang, Kupang, Merbau and Tanduk tarum (Indonesia); Kha and Mai Tae Kha (Laos); Tat-talum (Myanmar); Apalit, Balayong and Tindalo (Philippines); and Makha-hua-kham, Makha-luang, Makha-mong and Makha-yai (Thailand).


The timber is moderately hard to hard and is moderately heavy to heavy with a density of 850-900 kg/m3 air dry.


It is reputed to be very durable.


Texture is moderately coarse to coarse and even. Grain is interlocked or sometimes straight.


The timber is reported to be strong and falls into Strength Group B (Burgess, 1958).


It is reputed to be easy to work and takes on a high finish.


The timber seasons well with little shrinkage and warping.


The timber is highly prized as a furniture wood in the Philippines and should be suitable for interior finishing, panelling, moulding, high grade furniture, door and window frames, stairs and flooring. It has also been used for plywood but the wood is often regarded as too dense for the purpose. Other uses are musical instruments, ornamental items, agricultural tools, ship and boat building, carts and sleepers.


  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. 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.