USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
Wood Technical Fact Sheet
Other Common Names: Bala (Costa Rica), Jobito (Panama), Jobo blanco (Colombia), Jobo corronchoso (Venezuela), Hoeboe (Surinam), Acaiba, Caja, Pau da tapera (Brazil), Ubo (Peru), Hobo (Mexico).
Distribution: Throughout most of the West Indies and from southern Mexico to Peru and Brazil; in part cultivated or naturalized. The tree is planted in many tropical areas.
The Tree: The tree is up to 130 ft in height with diameters to 48 in. Boles with basal swelling, at times coarsely furrowed, clear 60 to 80 ft.
General Characteristics: Heartwood cream to buff colored, not distinguished from the sapwood. Luster medium; texture medium to coarse; grain straight to slightly irregular; odorless and tasteless.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.40; air-dry density 29 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 (73) 6,400 1,160 2,560
12% 8,810 1,280 4,410
12% (44) 8,050 1,330 NA
12% (24) 9,500 NA 6,450
Janka side hardness at 12% moisture content ranges from 335 to 510 lb. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 74 in.-lb. (5/8-in. specimen).
Drying and Shrinkage: The wood air-dries rapidly but develops moderate warp and slight checking. No data are available on kiln schedules. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.7%; tangential 4.7%; volumetric 7.5%.
Working Properties: The wood is easy to work and generally finishes smoothly; fuzzy grain may develop in some operations.
Durability: The wood has low resistance to attack by decay fungi and insects and is particularly prone to blue stain. Logs need to be promptly processed to minimize deterioration.
Preservation: Deep penetration and high chemical absorption are easily obtained using either a pressure-vacuum or open-tank system.
Uses: Boxes and crates, general carpentry, millwork, utility plywood, furniture components; often planted as "live fencing."
Additional Reading: (24), (44), (73)