Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
Wood Technical Fact Sheet
Other Common Names: Alma negra, Sapan (Colombia), Cabari, Timbo pau, Timbo rana (Brazil).
Distribution: Several species distributed in the Guianas, central and northern Amazon region, and into the Magdalena Valley of Columbia.
The Tree: The trees are unbuttressed but basally swollen, usually 16 to 20 in. in diameter and 90 to 100 ft tall; the main stem often clear for 40 ft and more. Diameters of 4 to 5 ft are reported in Trinidad. Trees thrive in swampy areas and on hillsides having high rainfall.
General Characteristics: The sapwood is thick, sharply defined, yellowish to brownish white. Heartwood is pinkish brown to dark brown streaked with light colored parenchyma bands. Grain is straight to irregular; texture medium to very coarse; luster medium to dull; odorless and tasteless.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) averages from 0.80 to 0.97; air-dry density 60 to 75 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
12% (20) 23,100 NA 16,500
12% (21) 28,600 3,500 13,900
Janka side hardness at 12% moisture content 2,960 lb.
Drying and Shrinkage: Wood is moderately difficult to dry with a tendency to warp and check. No data on kiln schedules available. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 5.0%; tangential 6.7%; volumetric 11.9%.
Working Properties: The wood is reported to be difficult to saw and difficult to work on all machines except dresses well in planing and sanding. The wood finishes smoothly and takes a high polish; easy to glue.
Durability: Reported to be moderately to highly resistant to attack by decay fungi; moderately resistant to subterranean termites, and probably has moderate to low resistance to marine borers.
Preservation: No data available, heartwood probably not treatable.
Uses: Heavy construction, furniture components, and flooring.
Additional Reading: (20),(21), (46)