In the Philippines, as well as elsewhere in their range, Shorea trees might be called red or white lauan, tangile, almon, as well as the descriptive "dark-red meranti" or "light-red meranti." But it is meranti (Shorea spp.) that makes up the greatest proportion of timber that's sold as Philippine mahogany. (Note: In botanical science, the letters spp. after the genus name means that several species in that genus share similar appearance and characteristics, e.g. Shorea spp.) Meranti traditionally grows in well-drained soils at low altitudes. In ideal conditions, a meranti tree can reach a 200' height and a trunk diameter of 6'. A lumberman's dream, it will also be branch free for 90'. The bases of some trees feature the vanelike supports called buttresses. Light-red and dark-red meranti produce medium-to-coarse textured wood that ranges in color from pale pink to brown and reddish-brown. The grain may be slightly interlocked. At about 36 pounds per cubic foot air-dry, meranti is heavier than Honduras mahogany. However, it is not nearly as hard nor as strong, and lacks the durability and stability of a true mahogany. And you may find brittleness in some boards.
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