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


Wood Technical Fact Sheet


 Machaerium spp.


Pau Ferro

Family: Leguminosae

Other Common Names: Capote, Siete cueros (Colombia), Cascaron (Venezuela), Chiche (Ecuador), Tuseque, Morado (Bolivia), Jacaranda, Jacaranda pardo (Brazil).

Distribution: The species of this group are widely distributed throughout tropical America but are most abundant in Brazil, with commercial sources in the southeast.

The Tree: Medium-sized, rarely large trees.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood brown to dark violet brown, often streaked, rather waxy; sapwood whitish, grayish, or yellowish. Luster medium to high; texture fine coarse; grain straight to irregular; without distinctive taste but sometimes walnut scented. Wood dust may cause dermatitis.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.65 to 0.75; air- dry density 49 to 57 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-cm standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (30) 14,200 1,580 5,670

15% 17,000 NA 8,000

Green (30) 14,000 1,240 5,550

15% 17,500 NA 8,300

Janka side hardness for green material 1,450 to 1,780 lb. Amsler toughness 282 to 346 in.-lb at 15% moisture content (2-cm specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: No information on drying characteristics available. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.6%; tangential 6.6%; volumetric 10.0%. These values are exceptionally low for a wood of this high density.

Working Properties: Reported to be fair to excellent.

Durability: Heartwood highly resistant to attack by decay fungi.

Preservation: No information available.

Uses: Fine furniture, decorative veneers, turnery, specialty items, and cabinet work. Generally useful for the same purposes as Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra).

Additional Reading: (30), (47), (56)