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


Wood Technical Fact Sheet


 Sterculia apetala


Family: Sterculiaceae

Other Common Names: Anacag_ita (Puerto Rico), Bellota, Chiapas (Mexico), Panama (Panama), Sunsun (Venezuela), Camajuru (Colombia).

Distribution: Southern Mexico and Central America to Peru and Brazil. Widely planted elsewhere in the tropics as a shade tree, for the edible seeds, and as a honey plant.

The Tree: May reach a height of 130 ft and a trunk diameter of 80 in.; develops prominent, narrow buttresses.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood light brown, reddish brown, or yellowish brown, not sharply demarcated from the yellowish sapwood. Luster medium; texture medium; grain straight to irregular; without distinctive odor or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.33; air-dry density 25 pcf.

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

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (75) 4,460 980 2,140

12% 7,110 960 4,230

12% (44) 4,900 965 NA

12% (24) 5,900 NA 3,680

Janka side hardness at 12% moisture content ranges from 270 to 530 lb. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material 48 in.-lb. (5/8-in. specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Reported to air-dry well if dried slowly; prone to collapse. No data available on kiln schedules. Shrinkage green to ovendry radial 3.7%; tangential 8.3%; volumetric 11.8%.

Working Properties: Generally reported to be easy to work with both hand and machine tools; timber from Panama showed considerable fuzzy grain after planing.

Durability: No resistance to attack by decay fungi or insects, also prone to blue stain.

Preservation: One report describes this wood as very easy to treat obtaining high absorption and deep and uniform penetration, another rates this wood as moderately difficult.

Uses: Boxes and crates, interior construction, plywood, particleboard, millwork.

Additional Reading: (24), (44), (75)