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


Wood Technical Fact Sheet


 Ormosia spp.



Family: Leguminosae

Other Common Names: Palo de matos (Puerto Rico), Amargo blanco (Panama), Chocho (Colombia), Peonio (Venezuela), Mekoe (Surinam), Tento, Jatobahy do igapo (Brazil).

Distribution: Most of the species are Amazonian but with extensions southward to Sao Paulo and northward to the West Indies, Central America, and southern Mexico.

The Tree: Varying with species, tree heights may reach 100 ft with diameters of 16 to 28 in.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood pinkish to reddish, mostly salmon colored, sometimes yellowish brown, more or less streaked; not always distinct from the yellowish sapwood. Texture coarse to very coarse; luster usually medium; grain mostly irregular; feels harsh; without distinctive odor or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varying with species from 0.50 to 0.68; air-dry density 37 to 52 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (First two sets of data based on the 2-in. standard; third set on the 1-in. standard.)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (75) 13,510 2,060 6,520

12% 17,860 2,340 9,780

15% (34) 13,800 1,720 6,830

12% (24) 14,200 2,230 8,050

Janka side hardness 1,000 lb to 1,570 lb for dry material. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 151 in.-lb (5/8-in. specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Generally the wood air-dries very slowly. Checking and warp vary from slight to moderate. No information available on kiln schedules. Shrinkage from green to ovendry: radial 3.6%; tangential 7.4%; volumetric 12.0%.

Working Properties: For most species, reported to saw and machine easily with fair to good results; surfaces, however, are somewhat rough and difficult to finish.

Durability: Generally reported to be quite susceptible to attack by decay fungi; vulnerable to dry-wood termites; and prone to powder-post beetle attack (sapwood).

Preservation: The heartwood and sapwood respond moderately well to pressure- vacuum preservative treatments; incising should be used where end-grain exposure is low.

Uses: Furniture components, interior construction, general carpentry, and utility veneer.

Additional Reading: (24), (34), (71), (7,5)