USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
Wood Technical Fact Sheet
Other Common Names: Cadeno (Guatemala), Frijolillo (Honduras), Tabaca, Guamarillo (Colombia), Samanigua (Venezuela), Guachapele (Ecuador).
Distribution: From Guatemala southward to Venezuela and Ecuador. Generally grows in dry areas and seeds naturally in pastures and abandoned fields. Often used for shade in coffee plantations.
The Tree: A large tree with a spreading crown, well-formed bole without significant buttresses.
General Characteristics: Heartwood light orange brown when freshly cut becoming yellow brown or brown with a golden luster on drying; rather sharply demarcated from the thin whitish sapwood. Texture medium to rather coarse; grain generally interlocked; without distinctive odor or taste.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.56; air-dry density 41 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
Green (73) 8,190 1,200 3,930
12% 10,750 1,150 6,570
Janka side hardness 1,030 lb when green and 1,040 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and air-dry material is 130 in.-lb. (5/8-in. specimen).
Drying and Shrinkage: Reported to be somewhat difficult to air season. A moderate rate of drying resulted in some warping and slight checking. No data available on kiln schedules. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.9%; tangential 4.5%; volumetric 7.6%; values are unusually low for a wood of this density.
Working Properties: The wood is easy to work and surfaces finish smoothly after sanding; sawn surfaces are somewhat woolly.
Durability: Heartwood is rated durable to very durable upon exposure to both white-rot and brown-rot fungi. Reported to have excellent weathering characteristics.
Preservation: Heartwood is highly resistant to moisture absorption and thus presumed to be non-treatable.
Uses: Shipbuilding (planking, ribs, decking), railroad crossties, general construction, flooring, decorative veneers, furniture components.
Additional Reading: (56), (73)