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The Teak Tree

( Originally Published 1851 )

THOUGH the Teak Tree is a tree of quite at different family from the oak, and a native of India, it is used in ship-building like the oak, and has some resemblance to it in its timber. It is a tree of uncommon size, with leaves twenty inches long, and sixteen broad, and bears a hard nut. The country ships in India, as well as many very fine ones that trade between India and this country, are built of it. A specimen was introduced into England, about sixty years ago; but from the warmth of the climate of which it is a native, it can never become a forest-tree in this country.

Besides its value as timber, the teak has great beauty as a tree. It is found more than two hundred feet high, and the stem, the branches, and the leaves, are all very imposing. On the banks of the river Irrawaddy, in the Birman empire, the teak forests are unrivalled; and they rise so far over the jungle or brushwood, by which tropical forests are usually rendered impenetrable, that they seem almost as if one forest were raised on gigantic poles, over the top of another. The teak has not the broad strength of the oak, the cedar, and some other trees; but there is a grace in its form which they do not possess.

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