Tissue Culture of Teak Plants (Tectona grandis)
14 Jan 2021

Tissue Culture of Teak Plants (Tectona grandis)

Anjali Singh, MS

As a content and community manager, I leverage my expertise in plant biotechnology, passion for tissue culture, and writing skills to create compelling articles, simplifying intricate scientific concepts, and address your inquiries. As a dedicated science communicator, I strive to spark curiosity and foster a love for science in my audience.

Anjali Singh, MS
Table of Contents

Tectona grandis, also commonly known as teak trees, have been used extensively in some countries for more than 2000 years. Teak trees belong to the family of Verbenaceae and are one of the most valuable timber trees in the tropics. Teak trees are large and deciduous trees that reach up to 30 m in height in favorable conditions.

This article discusses the structural properties of the teak trees and their propagation in an artificial environment by tissue culture. 

Distribution of Teak Trees

Tectona genus consists of three species: T. hamiltoniana, T. grandis, and T. philippinensis. The species T. hamiltoniana is natively distributed in Myanmar, T. philippines is native to the Philippines, and T. grandis is native to India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar, northern Thailand, northwestern Laos.


About Teak Trees (Tectona grandis)

 With branches ranging from grey to greyish-brown in color and brown bark that is distinctly fibrous with longitudinal and shallow fissures, Teak trees grow 40 m in height.  Its leaves are ovate, elliptical, or ovate-elliptical with 14-15 cm in length and 8-23 cm in width and the young leaves are up to 1 meter. The upper surface of the leaves is shiny and the lower ones are hairy with a clear vein network. Small white flowers of the trees are borne on large, erect, cross-branched panicles from June to August. The corolla tube is 2.5–3 mm long with 2 mm wide obtuse lobes and fruits are drupes (fleshy fruits with stony seeds).

Teak trees are grown for their timber in several places. The tree has an important application in places where weather resistance is desired. It has high oil content, high tensile strength, and tight grain that make it suitable for use. It is used to create outdoor furniture, cutting boards, indoor flooring, countertops, the veneer of indoor finishings, and boat decks. The extensive use of teak wood is because of its resistance to termite attacks and other insect damages.


Tissue Culture Propogation of Teak Trees

In conventional practices, seeds are used to cultivate teak trees. But, before using the seeds for cultivation, it is required to remove dormancy arising from the thick pericarp. The procedure of removing dormancy involves soaking the seeds in water for 12 hours and then spreading them to dry directly in the sun. Repeat the same procedure for 10-14 days. After this, sow the seeds in shallow germination beds of coarse peat covered by sand. The seeds will start germinating after 15-30 days.


Tissue culture or micropropagation of teak trees are used because cultivating plants through seeds is a bit difficult because of the hard tegument present on the seeds. Also, the germination from seeds is irregular. So, micropropagation provides the best alternative for the germination of teak trees on a large scale.


Culture Establishment

1. Choose the source of the plant and take fresh current year shoots. Then, swab it using alcohol (50% v/v) soaked muslin cloth.

2.Cut shoots into multiple 3-4 cm long nodal segments or small pieces.

3.Wash the cut pieces or segments in 1% Teepol for 30 minutes.

4.Surface sterilize the segments of pieces successively:

  • Using ethyl alcohol (80 % v/v) for 30 seconds.
  • Then, put the segments or pieces in 0.1% Mercuric chloride solution containing a few drops of Tween-20 for 5 minutes.
  • Then, rinses the pieces or segments with five changes of sterilized distilled water.

5. Trim both the ends of the nodal segments and put them on the media containing 3% sucrose and 0.8% agar plus 2.2 µM BAP (Benzylaminopurine).

6. To avoid the browning of the media and explants death, subject the explants to five different serial transfer periods. This is simply transferring the cultures to fresh media successively after 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours. The transfer of explants will ensure a higher percentage establishment of cultures.


  1. Collect the axillary bud sprouts from the cultured plants for further multiplication.
  2. Place the explants in sterile double distilled water for 15 minutes.
  3. Then, blot it using sterile filter paper.
  4. Place the cultures in an MS medium containing 22.2 µM BAP (Benzylaminopurine) and 0.57 µM indole-3-acetic acid for the maximum number of shoots.


  1. Harvest shoots of 2.5 cm length and wash them under running tap water.
  2. Blot the cut ends of shoots.
  3. Prepare the indole-3-butyric acid (IBA, 9.8 mM) in 50 % ethyl alcohol
  4. Dip the cut shoots in indole-3-butyric acid (IBA, 9.8 mM) solution for 2 min.
  5. Then, plant the shoots in polyethylene or plastic pots containing a soil: vermiculite (1:1 v/v) mixture, enriched with one fourth strength MS salt solution and placed in a hardening chamber.
  6. After 15-20 days, transfer the plants to a shade house.

When the plants reach a certain good height transfer them to the field.


  1. Tiwari, S.K. & Tiwari, K.P. & Elenjikkal, Siril. (2002). An improved micropropagation protocol for teak. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture. 71. 1-6. 10.1023/A:1016570000846.
  2. Aguilar, M., Garita, K., Kim, Y., Kim, J. and Moon, H. (2019) Simple Protocol for the Micropropagation of Teak (Tectona grandis Linn.) in Semi-Solid and Liquid Media in RITA® Bioreactors and ex Vitro Rooting. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 10, 1121-1141. DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2019.107081.
  3. https://www.britannica.com/plant/teak
  4. http://apps.worldagroforestry.org/treedb/AFTPDFS/T...
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teak#.

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