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


Wood Technical Fact Sheet


 Simarouba amara



Family: Simaroubaceae

Other Common Names: Aceituno (Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama), Cedro blanco, Simaruba (Venezuela), Soemaroeba (Surinam), Caixeta, Marupa, Maruba (Brazil), Acajou blanc (Fr. Guiana).

Distribution: Northern South America from Venezuela and the Guianas to the Amazon region of Brazil, also in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Tree: A large unbuttressed tree reaching a height of 140 ft and diameters of 20 to 24 in. occasionally 36 in. Boles are straight, cylindrical, strongly tapered, frequently clear to 70 to 90 ft.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood not differentiated from the whitish or straw-colored sapwood, with occasional oily streaks. Luster rather high; texture medium and uniform; grain usually straight; without odor but with a bitter quinine-like taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.38; air-dry density 27 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (First set of data based on 2-in. standard, second set on the 1-in. standard.)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (74) 6,310 1,140 2,970

12% 8,930 1,240 4,840

12% (24) 8,350 1,290 4,900

Janka side hardness 390 lb for green material and 440 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material 66 in.-lb. (5/8-in. specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Reported to be easy to air-season, boards dry rapidly with little or no degrade. No information on kiln schedules available. Shrinkage from green to ovendry: radial 2.3%; tangential 5.0%; volumetric 8.0%.

Working Properties: The wood works easily and machines to a smooth clean surface. Freshly felled logs tend to split in sawing due to internal stresses. The wood is easy to finish and to glue.

Durability: Pure culture tests indicate the wood to be somewhat durable to a white-rot and brown-rot fungus; however, actual graveyard evaluations show the wood to be readily attacked by decay fungi and insects. The wood is also very susceptible to dry-wood termite attack and prone to blue stain.

Preservation: Absorption and penetration of wood preservatives are excellent using either a pressure-vacuum system or open-tank methods.

Uses: Interior construction, boxes and crates, furniture components, veneer and plywood, pattern making, millwork, particleboard and fiberboard.

Additional Reading: (24), (46), (72), (74)