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


Wood Technical Fact Sheet


 Licania spp.




Family: Chrysobalanaceae (= Rosaceae-Chrysobalanoideae)

Other Common Names: Bois gris (Trinidad), Monkey apple (Belize), Carbonero, Sapote (Panama), Abure, Cana dulce (Colombia), Merecure de montana (Venezuela), Kwepie, Anaura (Surinam), Pintadinho, Caraipe (Brazil), Marishballi, Kairiballi (Guyana).

Distribution: Widely distributed in tropical America but is most abundant in the Guianas and the lower Amazon region of Brazil. Frequent in the overflow woodlands of the Amazon estuary but also in upland forests.

The Tree: Varies with species: Heights range from 65 to 110 ft, well-formed boles may be clear for 50 to 60 ft in the larger trees. Diameters commonly 16 to 24 in., often to 36 in. Some species are buttressed or stilt-rooted.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood is generally a yellowish brown to brown or dark brown, sometimes with a reddish tinge; sapwood tan, often rather indistinct. Texture usually fine and close; luster rather low; usually straight grained; without characteristic odor or taste. Silica content varies with species but may be as high as 3 to 4%.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varies with species from 0.64 to 0.91; air-dry density 52 to 72 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)

Green (73) 17,070 2,930 7,580

12% 27,660 3,340 13,390

Green (73) 14,380 2,320 6,720

12% 20,650 2,530 11,010

Janka side hardness 2,250 lb for green material and 3,570 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 213 in.-lb. (5/8-in. specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: The woods are rated easy to moderately difficult to air-season; drying is at a moderate to rapid rate. Warping and checking are generally rated as slight. Data on kiln schedules not available. Shrinkage from green to ovendry: radial 7.5%; tangential 11.7%; volumetric 17.2%.

Working Properties: The woods of Licania are difficult to work because of the high silica content and high density. Smooth surfaces are obtainable if tools are kept sharp. Specially hardened cutters are suggested.

Durability: Varies with species, generally considered to have low to moderately low resistance to attack by decay fungi. One species is reported to be resistant to dry wood termite attack; all are known for their high resistance to attack by marine borers.

Preservation: Varies with species, generally heartwood is moderately responsive to both open-tank and pressure-vacuum treatments. Sapwood is reported to have good absorption and penetration.

Uses: Underwater marine construction, heavy construction above ground, railroad crossties (treated), charcoal, and fuel.

Additional Reading: (24), (44), (46), (73)