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


Wood Technical Fact Sheet


 Pterocarpus spp.


Family: Leguminosae

Other Common Names: Sangre de drago (generally in Latin America), Palo de polio (Puerto Rico), Sangrillo (Costa Rica), Huevos de gato (Panama), Yaya sangre (Colombia), Lagunero (Venezuela), Bebe (Surinam), Angu, Mututi, Pau sangua (Brazil) Nogal falso (Bolivia).

Distribution: Throughout tropical America from the West Indies and southern Mexico to northern Argentina. Some species in swamplands, others in uplands, and still others common on abandoned farmlands and on cutover forest lands.

The Tree: Varies with species up to 90 ft in height with diameters to 36 in., commonly to 16 in. In some, bole is usually fluted with high sinuous, irregular plank buttresses.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Wood yellowish or whitish; sapwood indistinct; traumatic heartwood dark brown or purplish. Texture medium to coarse; luster medium; grain straight to irregular; without distinctive odor or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varies considerably with species from 0.28 to 0.60; air-dry density 22 to 44 pcf.

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

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (74) 9,580 1,580 4,140

12% 16,020 2,000 7,390

12% (64) 7,100 1,090 NA

12% (24) 10,450 1,430 5,420

Janka side hardness at 12% moisture content varies with species from 275 lb to 1,380 lb. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 220 in.-lb (5/8-in. specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Most species are relatively easy to air-season with only slight checking and moderate warp, particularly in thinner boards. No data on kiln schedules are available. Shrinkage from green to ovendry: radial 3.9%; tangential 6.8%; volumetric 10.8%.

Working Properties: Easy to work and finishes smoothly in all operations. P. vernalis reported to cut well into veneers for plywood. The same species has excellent steam-bending characteristics.

Durability: Generally reported to be very susceptible to attack by decay fungi. In laboratory evaluations the decay resistance of P. vernalis is reported to be very variable.

Preservation: Reported to be very easy to treat using either open-tank or pressure-vacuum systems.

Uses: Rough construction lumber, particleboard and fiberboard, general carpentry, plywood, and furniture components.

Additional Reading: (24), (64), (74)