USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
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Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet

Genipa americana



Family: Rubiaceae

Other Common Names: Jagua azul (Mexico), Irayol (Guatemala), Brir (Costa Rica), Angelina (Colombia), Caruto (Venezuela), Arasaloe, Tapoeripa (Surinam), Palo Colorado, Huitoc (Peru), Genipapeiro (Brazil).

Distribution: General distribution throughout tropical America, from the West Indies and Mexico to Argentina. Widely planted for its shade and fruit.

The Tree: Reaches a height of 70 ft; mostly 15 to 18 in. in diameter, but may reach 24 in.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood light yellowish brown sometimes with a slight pinkish- or purplish-blue overcast, merging gradually into the cream-colored sapwood. Luster medium; texture rather fine; grain straight to irregular; without distinctive odor or taste. Narrow bands of darker-colored wood produce an attractive striped figure.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.57; air-dry density 44 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (First set of data based on 2-cm standard; second set on 2-in. standard.)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (14) 11,000 920 4,250

15% 14,200 NA 7,100

12% (24) 17,300 1,710 7,450

Janka side hardness 1,410 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness 184 in.-lb at 12% moisture content (5/8-in. specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: The wood air-seasons slowly but with only minor warping and virtually no surface checking. Data on dry kiln schedule not available. Shrinkage from green to ovendry: radial 4.6%; tangential 9.1%; volumetric 13.5%. Should stay in place well after manufacture.

Working Properties: Works easily and with excellent results, rates better than mahogany and teak. Glues satisfactorily and should finish without difficulty. Can be peeled to produce tight and smooth veneers.

Durability: Reported to be very susceptible to attack by dry-wood termites, pinhole borers, and decay fungi.

Preservation: Both heartwood and sapwood are reported to respond well to preservation treatments using either open-tank or pressure-vacuum systems.

Uses: Shoe lasts, tool handles, bent work, furniture and cabinet work, turnery, flooring, veneer, and plywood. Fruit is used to produce a sour refreshing drink, when immature used to prepare an indelible stain.

Additional Reading: (14), (24), (45), (56)

14. Cunha Melo, E. 1971. Estudo dentrologico e determinacao das caracteristicas fisicos e mecanicas do Genipa americana L. Brasil Florestal 11 (8):1 7-21.

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.

45. Longwood, F. R. 1961. Puerto Rican woods: Their machining, seasoning, and related characteristics. Agriculture Handbook No. 205. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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

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