The mangkono tree is a giant among the species of trees. It has been found to draw metal minerals out of the soil resulting in the nickname of ironwood and is extremely difficult to cut down. Preferring to live in tropical climates such as the Philippines, the mangkono tree is now becoming in danger of dying out as saplings are cut down before maturation.
The trunk of a mangkono tree can grow to the diameter of 20 to 36 inches while the canopy of the tree towers up to 30 to 40 feet above. The leaves of the mangkono tree have a leathery texture and are generally oval in shape. The tree features bright red, rounded flowers on the end of the branches and fruit that splits open to reveal half moon seeds within.
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The mangkono tree is native in only a few places including the Philippines and Indonesia. The tree is considered rare by several conservation agencies. Only the warmest of southern climates in the United States may provide the right requirements for the mangkono tree to grow.
The wood of the mangkono tree is highly valued and can resist rotting for 40 years with constant contact to moisture and even longer in arid regions. The wood of a full-grown mangkono tree is so hard that it is recommended to use a diamond saw to cut it. A mangkono tree can be chopped down with an axe but it is very difficult and will take several days to complete. Because of the challenge of cutting down a mature mangkono tree many younger trees are cut down after they reach a diameter of only a few inches.
The extreme hardness of the mangkono tree makes it suitable for certain applications. The ability of the wood of the mangkono tree to resist rot makes it an ideal choice in ship building. It is also used in the handles of tools, poles, wharfs and bridges.
The mangkono tree will grow will in sandy loam soil; if the soil is too rich in organic matter the growth of the tree may suffer. During the heat of the growing season the mangkono tree requires large amounts of water. It will flower more if provided with full or partial light.