USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet
Other Common Names: Peine de mico (Mexico), Burillo (Nicaragua), Corcho (Colombia), Cortezo (Panama), Alastioelan, Borredaballi (Surinam), Maqui-sapa (Peru), Cortica, Gargauba (Brazil).
Distribution: The genus has a wide range in tropical America with the center of distribution in northern South America; found in the West Indies, southern Mexico, Central America, and southward to Brazil and Peru.
The Tree: Small to medium-sized trees (A. tibourbou) or large canopy emergents to 120 ft (A. aspera).
The Wood: General Characteristics: Sapwood and heartwood pale brown to oatmeal color w/ no distinction between them; texture medium to coarse; grain straight; not highly lustrous; no distinctive odor or taste. Wood has bands of soft cottony material that may be sporadic in occurrence.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) is very variable due to the irregular bands of soft tissue-0.12 to 0.27; air-dry density 9 to 21 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
12% (44) 4,000 670 NA
12% (21) 5,950 380 3,040
Janka side hardness about 250 lb for dry material.
Drying and Shrinkage: The wood is reported to be very easy to season with no drying defects. No kiln schedules available. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.1%; tangential 6.3%; volumetric 7.8%.
Working Properties: The wood is easy to work in all operations but due to the bands of soft tissue, dressed surfaces are rough. Silica content is reported to be 0.03%.
Durability: The wood is vulnerable to attack by decay fungi.
Preservation: Reported to be easy to impregnate.
Uses: The wood is used to make rafts along the eastern coast of Brazil. Suggested an insulating material in Colombia.
Additional Reading: (21), (24), (44)
21. Falla Ramirez, A. 1971. Resultados de estudios fisico-mecanicos de algunas maderas de la Serrania de San Lucas. Plegable Divulgativo, Division Forestal. INDERENA, Bogota.
24. Food and Agriculture Organization. 1970. Estudio de preinversion para el desarrollo forestal de la Guyana Venezolana. lnforme final. Tomo III. Las madera del area del proyecto. FAO Report FAO/SF: 82 VEN 5. Rome.
44. Llach, C. L. 1971. Properties and uses of 113 timber-yielding species of Panama. Part 3. Physical and mechanical properties of 113 tree species. FO- UNDP/PAN/6. FAO, Rome.
From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.