USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet
Other Common Names: Camaron, Palo camaron (Mexico), Surra (Costa Rica), Alazano (Panama), Guayabo (Colombia), Araguato, Betun (Venezuela).
Distribution: Occurs in Cuba and ranges from southern Mexico through Central America to Colombia and Venezuela. Degame may occur in pure stands and is common on shaded hillsides and along waterways.
The Tree: A small to medium-sized tree usually 40 to 50 ft high but may reach heights of 90 ft and diameters to 30 in. Boles usually straight and free of branches for half the total tree height.
General Characteristics: Heartwood ranges from light brown to oatmeal color and is sometimes grayish. Sapwood is lighter in color and merges gradually with the heartwood. Luster is low to medium; texture, fine and uniform; grain, straight to interlocked; odor and taste, not distinctive.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.67; air-dry density 51 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
Green (76) 14,290 1,930 6,200
12% 22,300 2,270 9,670
Janka side hardness 1,630 lb when green and 1,940 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 252 in.-lb (5/8 in. specimen).
Drying and Shrinkage: Some tendency to warp when dried as small squares (for archery bows); also some surface and end checking occurs in plank stock. Kiln schedule T2-C2 is suggested for 4/4 lumber and T2-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 4.8%; tangential 8.6%; volumetric 13.2%.
Working Properties: The wood is difficult to saw and moderately difficult to work in planing and boring; no appreciable dulling effect on cutters. Machined surfaces are very smooth; takes a glossy polish.
Durability: The wood is generally regarded as lacking appreciable resistance to attack by decay fungi. Pure-culture laboratory tests indicate high durability when exposed to a brown-rot fungus but only moderate durability with respect to deterioration by a white-rot fungus. Reported to be highly resistant to marine borers.
Preservation: No information available.
Uses: Has been used in the manufacture of archery bows and fishing rods. Suitable for tool handles and turnery and is used for shuttles and picker sticks and other textile manufacturing items.
Additional Reading: (22), (56), (75)
22. Farmer, R. H. (Editor). 1972. Handbook of hardwoods. H. M. Stationery Office, London.
56. Record, S. J., and R. W. Hess. 1949. Timbers of the new world. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.
75. Wangaard, F. F., W. L. Stern, and S. L. Goodrich. 1955. Properties and uses tropical woods, V. Tropical Woods No. 103:1-139.
From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.