USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
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Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet

Sickingia spp.


Family: Rubiaceae

Other Common Names: Guayatil colorado, Palo colorado (Panama), Brasilete, Carmesi (Colombia), Aguacatire, Paraguata (Venezuela), Palo rosado (Peru), Arareua, Arariba Pau Brasil (Brazil).

Distribution: Continental tropical America from southern Mexico to southern Brazil and Paraguay.

The Tree: Sometimes 65 ft in height with a trunk diameter of 20 in.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood rather dark brown, usually poorly developed; sapwood usually becoming red, pink, or violet rose throughout or more often variegated and often fading to yellowish brown on the surface. Luster medium to low; texture rather fine and uniform; grain straight to irregular; odorless when dry, taste slightly bitter.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.52; air-dry density 40 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-cm standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (32) 10,800 1,200 5,030

15% 14,400 NA 6,700

Janka side hardness for green material 1,070 lb. Amsler toughness at 15% moisture content 130 in-lb (2-cm specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: No information available on drying characteristics. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.8%; tangential 8.2%; volumetric 10.6%.

Working Properties: Working properties are reported as good.

Durability: Based on a laboratory evaluation, reported to have moderate resistance to attack by decay fungi.

Preservation: Reported to be highly permeable.

Uses: Turnery, boxes and crates, interior trim, millwork, light construction. Wood and bark yield a red dye used commercially.

Additional Reading: (32), (56)

32. Instituto de Pesquisas Technologicas. 1971. Arariba-Sickingia sp.-Rubiaceae. Fichas de Caracteristicas das Madeiras Brasileiras, Inst. Pesqu. tec. S. Paulo IPT/DIMAD/FC:24.

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.