Vitex cofassus

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Local names:
English (New Guinea teak), Indonesian (sassuwar,gupasa,gofasa), Malay (gofasa,boepasa), Thai (teen-Nok), Trade name (vitex,leban)

Vitex cofassus is a medium to large tree to 40 m tall and 130 cm dbh, usually without buttresses. Bole deeply and strongly fluted with excellent, pale and dense timber.

Leaves opposite with (sometimes without) fine hairs on the lower side. 

The terminal Inflorescence contains bisexual flowers; sepals united to form a small cup whereas the petals are united basally to form a small tube with 5 lobes. Corolla whitish to pale purple with 4 stamens inserted on the corolla tube; ovary superior.

Fruit a fleshy drupe, round to oblong, 5-12 mm in diameter, dark violet when mature with 1-4 seeds per fruit.

Seed a pale brown or black, egg-shaped stone (seed +endocarp) with a mosaic texture.

Ecology

In its natural range, it has the greatest stocking in moist lowland areas. It is common, as a co-dominant species in lowland forests with distinct wet and dry seasons and very light-demanding.

Native range
Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Vietnam

Tree management

Planting should be done early in the rainy season at a spacing of 1 m x 3 m. Young trees grow moderately slowly. Survival of young seedlings is enhanced by removing weeds 3-4 months after planting and thereafter annually up to 10 years. Stand establishment is through planting stock and wildings.

Ripe fruits can be collected from the trees by climbing. In young trees a pole pruner or a long stick can be used to collect the fruits. Collection from the ground should avoid fruits attacked by fungi or insects. The fruits are soaked in water and the pulp removed manually by squeezing the fruit. The seeds (stones) are then washed in water and spread out in a thin layer on trays in the sun for 2-3 days before storage. The seeds storage behaviour is Intermediate. There are about 10000 seeds/kg.

In its natural range, it has the greatest stocking in moist lowland areas. It is common, as a co-dominant species in lowland forests with distinct wet and dry seasons and very light-demanding.

The seed are pretreated by soaking in hot water (70ÂșC) for 10 minutes and allowing to cool for 24 hours can enhance the germination rate up to 70%. Seeds are sown in a seedbed with a germination medium of soil and sand mixture (1:2 composition). The seeds are sown at 1 cm within the rows and 15 cm between the rows. Germination is epigeal (cotyledons emerge above ground).

Seed start to germinate 10-40 days after sowing. After about 2 months in the seedbed, the seedlings are transferred to 12 x 18 cm polybags. Seedlings are planted in the field at the start of the rainy season, when they are 3-4 months old.

Apiculture: It is a source of bee forage.

Timber: V. cofassus is a sought after and useful hardwood. It is exported in fairly large amounts from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, mainly to Japan. The wood is very strong and durable with density of 700-800 kg/m3. Freshly cut wood has a leathery scent and difficult to treat with preservatives. The highly valued timber is used for house construction, boats and domestics utensils such as bowls and platters.  In Papua New Guinea, it is highly regarded for the purposes of stringers, keelsons and planking.

Shade or shelter: It is used as shelterbelt.