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

Terminalia amazonia

syn. T. obovata


Family: Combretaceae

Other Common Names: Almendro (Honduras), Canshan (Mexico), Amarillo carabazuelo (Panama), Guayabo leon (Colombia), Pardillo negro (Venezuela), Pau-mulato brancho (Brazil).

Distribution: Southern Mexico southward through Central America and into northern South America to Brazil and Peru; also Trinidad. The tree is common in the Wallaba forests of Guyana. Concentrations of four to five trees per acre are not unusual in Belize.

The Tree: May reach a height of 140 ft with diameters of 4 to 5 ft. Trees with diameters over 20 to 25 in. are often hollow. Long, clear, symmetrical boles are 60 to 70 ft long above the large buttresses.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood variable from yellowish olive to golden brown, sometimes with prominent reddish-brown stripes; not readily separated from the yellowish sapwood. Luster medium to rather high; texture medium; grain roey; without distinctive odor or taste in dry material.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.58 to 0.73; air- dry density 44 to 56 pcf.







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

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (74) 12,130 2,010 5,530

12% 17,750 2,300 9,540

Green (42) 13,600 1,890 6,700

12% 19,100 2,130 10,350

12% (24) 25,200 2,910 11,600

Janka side hardness at 12% moisture content 1,610 to 2,100 lb. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 187 in.-lb (5/8-in. specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Very variable in seasoning characteristics; some material reported easy to dry with little or no degrade; other material dried with difficult and with considerable warp and checking. Kiln schedule T3-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T3-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 6.4%; tangential 8.7%; volumetric 14.9%.

Working Properties: Generally reported to be somewhat fair to difficult to work with hand and machine tools; straight-grained material planes well, some tearing occurs strongly roey surfaces.

Durability: Pure culture tests showed the wood to be durable to both a white-rot and brown-rot fungus. Results of graveyard tests indicate considerable variability from very durable to only slight or fair resistance. Reported to be resistant to dry-wood termites but not to subterranean termites.

Preservation: Heartwood is extremely resistant to preservation treatments, treatability of sapwood is variable.

Uses: Flooring, railroad crossties, furniture and cabinet work, shipbuilding, turnery, general construction, utility plywood. It is suggested as a possible substitute for oak.

Additional Reading: (24), (42), (46), (74)

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.

42. Lavers, G. M. 1969. The strength properties of timbers. For. Prod. Res. Bull. No. 50. H. M. Stationery Office. London.

46. Longwood, F. R. 1962. Present and potential commercial timbers of the Caribbean. Agriculture Handbook No. 207. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

74. Wangaard, F. F., and A. F. Muschler. 1952. Properties and uses of tropical woods, III. Tropical Woods 98:1-190.

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