Teak is the common name for a tall timber tree of the verbena family. The tree, which attains a height of more than 30 m (about 100 ft), is native to India and Malay Archipelago, and is cultivated in Java and the Philippine Islands. Another variety of teak has also been cultivated in East and West Africa, Cuba and the Caribbean, and northern South America. Because of its durability and strength, teakwood is used throughout the world as lumber in shipbuilding. In the tropics, the wood is used primarily for the construction of furniture; teak furniture has been known to resist the attacks of insects and the corrosive effects of weather for hundreds of years.
Teak does not grow in tropical rain forests. It is a deciduous tree that grows particularly well in the dryer, hilly terrain typical of plantation forests in Southeast Asia. Java has very large teak plantations, which were first planted by the Dutch in the early 1800s and are now regulated by the Indonesian government. Teak grows quite fast, and the trees are cut after 50 – 60 years when they attain a height of up to 150 feet and have a diameter of 3-5 feet. If well maintained, a tree can produce a clear stem up to 100 feet long, giving a high timber yield.
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