USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
Wood Technical Fact Sheet
Other Common Names: Caimitillo (Puerto Rico), Chupon colorado, Hacano (Venezuela), Moraballi (Guyana), Riemhout, Koesiri balatarie (Surinam), Faux balata (French Guiana), Grumixava, Apixuna (Brazil), Barilla de agua (Peru), Ibira-camby (Argentina).
Distribution: West Indies and tropical America but mainly in the Guianas and Amazonia. In Surinam found in high, marsh, and savanna forests.
The Tree: May reach heights of 100 to 120 ft or more with diameters of 36 to 40 in. above the moderately high buttresses; lengths of clear boles may reach 40 to 70 ft.
The Wood: General Characteristics: Heartwood yellow-to gray brown with a somewhat pinkish tinge and sometimes with a yellowish-green hue; not clearly differentiated from the lighter colored sapwood. Texture fine to medium, grain mostly straight; luster medium; without distinctive odor or taste. Silica content of 0.2 to 0.5% is reported.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varying with species from 0.54 to 0.68; air-dry density 41 to 51 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (First two sets of data based on the 2-in. standard; third set on the 2-cm standard.)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
Green (75) 13,630 2,470 6,610
12% 18,890 2,950 9,820
15% (34) 19,620 2,410 9,800
Green (30) 11,000 1,500 4,850
15% 14,500 NA 7,100
Janka side hardness 1,130 lb for green material and 1,490 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 128 in.-lb. (5/8-in. specimen).
Drying and Shrinkage: The wood air dries at a rapid rate with moderate warping and slight to moderate checking. No data available on dry kiln schedules. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 5.8%; tangential 8.5%; volumetric 14.3%.
Working Properties: Some species moderately difficult to saw and machine with rather rapid dulling of cutters due to silica. However, straight-grained stock yields smooth surfaces in most operations.
Durability: The heartwood is rated as moderately durable in resistance to white- rot fungi and very durable in resisting brown-rot fungi. Actual field experience rates this wood as moderately resistant to decay. The wood is susceptible to dry- wood termites. Resistance to marine borers is variable.
Preservation: The sapwood is reported to have moderate treatability.
Uses: Furniture components, general construction, decorative veneer, turnery, flooring, millwork, interior trim. Some resemblance to hard maple and yellow birch.
Additional Reading: (30), (34), (4,5), (7,5)