Teak has a large natural distribution area and has its origin in the tropical forests of India, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos and has been introduced widely in the tropical regions since 19th century, especially in Asia, Africa and Central America due to its valuable timber for furniture making, carving and as an excellent building material around the world.
The generic name Tectona comes from the Latin word tekton which means carpenter. The word grandis means big, noble, proud. Therefore, the specific name Tectona grandis fits very well with what is expected from trees and woods
Teak has been widely used in India for more than 2000 years. The name teak is from the Malayalam word tekka.
Teak is one of the major plantation timbers of the world. The species is native to India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos Indonesia, Malaysia in South East Asia
Most of the research on origin of teak supports that teak has its diversity center in India, and Myanmar had higher genetic diversity than Thailand and Laos .
Today, large areas of plantations are grown outside the species native range.
Teak was probably translocated outside its natural distribution range some 400 to 600 years ago, when it was naturalised in Java, Indonesia. Later plantations were established in Sri Lanka (year 1680). In Africa, the Germans introduced teak to Tanzania at the end of the nineteenth century using seed from Calcutta, India. Later, before the First World War, many provenances of teak were introduced by the German colonial administration, with seed sources being from locations such as Tenasserim in southern Myanmar, Travancore in southern India and possibly also from Java. In 1902, teak was planted for the first time in Nigeria, with seed first from India and subsequently from Myanmar or Thailand. The species was introduced in Togo and Ghana in 1905 with seed from Nigeria and in the Ivory Coast in 1926 with seed from Togo.