Dipterocarp fruit are winged, and spin as they fall, drifting away from the parent tree. Dipterocarps can be extraordinarily prolific in seeding, with some mature trees producing up to 20 million flowers at a time.
In much of South-East Asia, the majority of dipterocarp trees flower and fruit together at intervals of five to six years, thought to be triggered by the El Niño-Southern Ocean Oscillations.
This synchronous or ‘mast’ fruiting, overwhelms animals that feed on the fruit, enabling the surviving seeds to germinate. This strategy is known as ‘predator satiation’.
Even within the masting areas some trees fruit every year. For these species insect predators are particularly damaging.