USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
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Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet

Zanthoxylum flavum

syn. Fagara flava

West Indian Satinwood

Family: Rutaceae

Other Common Names: Espinillo (Dominican Republic), Yellow sanders (Jamaica), Noyer Bois noyer (Guadeloupe).

Distribution: Lower Florida Keys, Bermuda, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Lesser Antilles from Anguilla to St. Lucia.

The Tree: Sometimes 40 ft high with a trunk diameter up to 20 in.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood is a creamy or golden yellow darkening with exposure; not clearly differentiated from the whitish to light yellow sapwood. Luster high; texture fine and even; grain interlocked or irregular often with roey mottle figure; when freshly worked has a characteristic scent of coconut.

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

Mechanical Properties: No data available.

Drying and Shrinkage: A closely related species in Surinam is reported to season well without difficulty; otherwise no data available on drying and shrinkage.

Working Properties: Has a moderate blunting effect on cutting edges; wood tends to ride on cutters in planing; an excellent turnery wood; takes a fine polish; dust produced in machinery operations may cause dermatitis.

Durability: The wood is reported as nondurable, but is resistant to dry-wood termites.

Preservation: No data available.

Uses: Cabinetmaking, fine furniture, inlays, turnery, fancy veneers, specialty item (hand mirrors and hairbrushes).

Additional Reading: (22), (43), (56)

22. Farmer, R. H. (Editor). 1972. Handbook of hardwoods. H. M. Stationery Office, London.

43. Little, E. L., and F. W. Wadsworth. 1964. Common trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Agriculture Handbook No. 249. 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.