USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
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Wood Technical Fact Sheet

Platymiscium spp.



Family: Leguminosae

Other Common Names: Granadillo (Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras), Coyote, Cristobal (Costa Rica), Trebol, Guayacan trebol (Colombia), Roble (Venezuela), Koenatepi (Surinam), Macacauba, Jacaranda do brejo (Brazil), Cumaseba (Peru).

Distribution: Continental tropical America from southern Mexico to the Brazilian Amazon region, and Trinidad.

The Tree: Heights to 80 ft with trunk diameters of 28 to 42 in.; boles are straight, cylindrical, and clear to 60 ft; buttressed.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood bright red to reddish or purplish brown, more or less distinctly striped; darker specimens look waxy; sharply demarcated from the nearly white sapwood. Luster medium to high; grain straight to roey; texture mostly medium to fine, sometimes coarse; without distinctive odor or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varies with species from 0.73 to 0.94; air-dry density 55 to 73 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (First set of data based on the 2-in. standard, the second set on the 2-cm standard, and the third set on the 1-in. standard.)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (75) 22,320 3,020 10,540

12% 27,600 3,200 16,100

Green (30) 15,900 2,130 7,460

15% 17,500 NA 8,940

12% (24) 16,800 2,500 9,800

Janka side hardness at 12% moisture content ranges from 1,710 lb. to 3,200 lb. Amsler toughness at 12% moisture content is 242 in.-lb (2-cm specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Generally reported to air-dry slowly with a slight tendency to warp and check. No data available on kiln schedules. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.7%; tangential 3.5%; volumetric 6.5% (P. pinnatum); values are remarkably low for a wood of this density.

Working Properties: Not very difficult to work, finishes smoothly, and takes a high polish.

Durability: Heartwood reported to be highly resistant to attack by decay fungi and insects; resistance to dry-wood termites is rated very high.

Preservation: Heartwood is highly resistant to preservation treatments; sapwood responds with good absorption, but irregular penetration.

Uses: Fine furniture and cabinet work, decorative veneers, musical instruments, turnery, joinery, specialty items (violin bows, billiard cues).

Additional Reading: (24), (30), (72), (75)

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.

30. Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnologicas. 1956. Tabelas de resultados obtidos para madeiras nacionais. Bol. Inst. Pesqu. tec. Sao Paulo No. 31.

72. Vink, A. T. 1965. Surinam timbers: A summary of available information with brief descriptions of the main species of Surinam. Surinam Forest Service, Paramaribo.

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.