teak, tall deciduous tree ( Tectona grandis ) of the family Verbenaceae (verbena family), native to India and Malaysia but now widely cultivated in other tropical areas. Unfortunately, the wood of plantation teak is considered inferior to that of wild teak; consequently the wild populations are being decimated. Teakwood is moderately hard, easily worked, and extremely durable; beams said to be over 1,000 years old are still functional. The wood contains an essential oil that resists the action of water and prevents the rusting of iron. The heartwood is resistant to termites. Teak is superior to all other woods for shipbuilding and is also used for furniture, flooring, and general construction. Several other similar woods from unrelated trees are sometimes also called teak. Teak ( Tectona grandis ) is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Famiales, family Verbenaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.