White seraya (Parashorea malaanonan)

The buttress of a white seraya
Loading more images and videos...

White seraya fact file

White seraya description

GenusParashorea (1)

Dipterocarpaceae trees dominate tropical lowland rainforests in Southeast Asia and consist of many economically and ecologically important species (3), with white seraya being considered the most important commercial timber of northern Borneo (1). This enormous tree has a tall, straight, cylindrical trunk, characterized by pronounced buttressing at its base (2). Large flowers with yellow anthers exist amongst the tree’s crown of leaves, found in or above the canopy (4).

Also known as
White lauan.
Height: to 61 m (2)
Trunk diameter above butresses: 0.91 – 1.52 m (2)

White seraya biology

Parashorea species are thought to be primarily pollinated by bees (4) and all trees of the Dipterocarpaceae family produce fruits with a single-seeded nut (5). The fruit of Parashorea species are five-winged (5), having evolved, like many Dipterocarpaceae species, to utilise wind dispersal (6).


White seraya range

Found on Borneo, in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), as well as in the Philippines (1).


White seraya status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered


White seraya threats

White seraya is an extremely important commercial timber (1) and, as such, has become critically endangered through over-harvesting, and probably extensive illegal logging. In the Philippines, large areas of forest had already been cleared by the end of the nineteenth century for agricultural expansion, which continued throughout the twentieth century (7). However, the most extensive and rapid deforestation in the latter half of the century has been caused by commercial logging, with has particularly impacted the valuable primary lowland dipterocarp forests, which shrunk from an estimated 10 million hectares in the 1950s to only one million by the late 1980s (7). Forest clearance and habitat degradation throughout Borneo and the Philippines may also be having a detrimental effect on the tree’s natural pollinators, reducing the rate at which the species can reproduce and recover its populations (4).


White seraya conservation

This threatened species is located in a proposed reserve site (1), which, if awarded official reserve status in the future, would confer some degree of protection to the species. The Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has also established a genebank of economically useful, endemic and endangered forest tree species, including white seraya (8). This project has involved collecting and propagating the species to be maintained in an arboretum, and gathering data on growth and survival of the species planted (8). A large scale project has also been initiated in Sabah, Malaysia, to rehabilitate 25,000 hectares of logged forests using indigenous tree species such as dipterocarps, in order to counteract atmospheric carbon dioxide (9). Parashorea malaanonan has been one of the main dipterocarp species planted to date (9). Indeed, although such conservation efforts are not directed specifically at white seraya, the tree is likely to benefit indirectly from a variety of such efforts to conserve lowland forests generally. Whether for environmental concerns or to protect the host of endangered species that inhabit lowland forests across Borneo and the Philippines, conservation of such forests will undoubtedly help preserve this enormous tree, which needs to be recognised for its crucial ecological importance as much as for its economic value.


Find out more

For more information on this species see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk


Part of the stamen (the male reproductive organ of a flower) that produces pollen.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
The preservation of plant genetic material in seedbanks (or genebanks), as a technique of ex-situ conservation of plant species.


  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2008)
  2. USDA Forest Service (February, 2006)
  3. Kamiya, K., Harada, K., Tachida, H. and Shaw-Ashton, P. (2005) Phylogeny of PgiC gene in Shorea and its closely related genera (Dipterocarpaceae), the dominant trees in Southeast Asian tropical rain forests. American Journal of Botany, 92: 775 - 788.
  4. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) (February, 2006)
  5. Pooma, R. (2003) Dipterocarpaceae in Thailand: taxonomic and biogeographical analysis. PhD Thesis. Kasetsart University, Thailand.
  6. Schmidt, L. (2000) Guide to Handling of Tropical and Subtropical Forest Seed. Danida Forest Seed Centre, Denmark.
  7. BirdLife International: Philippine Forests (February, 2006)
  8. Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (February, 2006)
  9. Moura Costa, P., Yap, S.W., Ong, C.L., Ganing, A., Nussbaum, R. and Mojiun, T. (1996) Large-scale enrichment planting with dipterocarps as an alternative for carbon offset - methods and preliminary results. In: Appanah, S. and Khoo, K.C. (Eds) Proceedings of the 5th Round Table Conference on Dipterocarps. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Available at:

Image credit

The buttress of a white seraya  
The buttress of a white seraya

© Fletcher & Baylis

Wildside Photography


Link to this photo

Arkive species - White seraya (Parashorea malaanonan) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in:

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top