USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
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Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet

Brosimum spp. (Alicastrum group)



Family: Moraceae

Other Common Names: Masicaron (Guatemala, Honduras), Ojuste (El Salvador), Guaimaro, Manata (Colombia), Tillo (Ecuador), Muiratinga (Brazil).

Distribution: B. alicastrum and other closely related species are found in southern Mexico through Central America and southward into the Peruvian Amazon.

The Tree: Trees reach a height of 120 ft, with straight cylindrical boles clear to 75 ft; diameters may range up to 30 to 40 in.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Both sapwood and heartwood a uniform yellowish white; wood around knots and other defects may be a distinct red. Texture is fine to medium; grain is straight to irregular and shallowly interlocked; luster low; without distinctive odor or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) very variable with species ranging between 0.55 to 0.72. Air-dry density from 45 to 65 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green(18) 17,610 1,850 NA

12% (63) 16,050 1,850 NA

12% (71) 16,610 NA 8,870

Janka side hardness ranges between 1,340 lb and 1,700 lb dry.

Drying and Shrinkage: Easy to moderately difficult to air-dry, tendency to twist. No information on kiln-drying. Shrinkage green to ovendry: 5.1% radial; 9.4% tangential; 15.4% volumetric.

Working Properties: Reported to be easy to moderately difficult to machine. Because of its density and silica content of 0.68%, proper cutters should be selected. Figured wood is sliced for face veneers without difficulty.

Durability: Durability is low, vulnerable to attack by white-rot and brown-rot fungi. Particularly susceptible to insect attack because of abundant starch.

Preservation: No information available.

Uses: General construction work, flooring, furniture, cabinet work, veneers, and tool handles. Cooked seeds of B. alicastrum are edible.

Additional Reading: (15), (17), (56), (63), (71)

15. Davis, E. M. 1956. Exploratory tests on machining and related properties of fifteen tropical American hardwoods. USDA For. Serv. Rep. No. 1744. Forest Prod. Lab., Madison, Wis.

17. Echenique-Manrique, R. 1970. Descripcion, caracteristicas y usos de 25 madera tropicales mexicanas. Serie Maderas de Mexico, Camara Nacional de la Industria de Construccian, Mexico, D.F.

56. Record, S. J., and R. W. Hess. 1949. Timbers of the new world. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.

63. Slooten, H. J. van der, and M. E. Gonzales. 1970. Maderas latinoamericanas. V. Carapa sp., Virola koschnyi Terminalia lucida, y Brosimum costaricanum. Turrialba 20(4):503-51 0.

71. Villamil G., F. (Editor). 1971. Maderas colombianas. Proexpo, Bogota.

From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.