USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
(608) 231-9200


Wood Technical Fact Sheet


 Hibiscus elatus

and H. tiliaceus

Blue Mahoe

Family: Malvaceae

Other Common Names: Emajagua excelsa (Puerto Rico), Majagua, Majagua azul (Cuba), Mountain-mahoe (Jamaica).

Distribution: Reported to be native to Cuba and Jamaica but widely planted and naturalized from southern Florida to Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, and throughout the West Indies.

The Tree: Commonly grows to a height of 60 to 70 ft; with trunk diameters of 12 to 18 in., on favorable sites may attain diameters of 36 in. Boles are straight and of fairly good length.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood is basically a grayish brown or olive but often richly variegated with shades of purple and metallic blue; distinct from the narrow nearly white sapwood. Texture medium, often variable; grain fairly straight; luster rather dull; no distinctive odor or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.62; air-dry density 47 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: No data available.

Drying and Shrinkage: No information available, but being prized as a high-grade furniture wood suggests good seasoning characteristics.

Working Properties: The timber is reported to work easily.

Durability: The heartwood is reported to be highly resistant to attack by decay fungi.

Preservation: No information available.

Uses: Cabinet work, furniture, inlay work, interior trim, building construction, railroad crossties. Bark of young trees is used for cordage.

Additional Reading: (46), (56)