Cecropia peltata
Family: Moraceae
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Other Common Names: Yagrumo (Cuba, Venezuela), Guarumo (Mexico, Colombia), Boessi papaja (Surinam), Imbauba (Brazil), Cetico, Tacuna (Peru), Ambahu (Argentina).


Distribution: Throughout tropical America. Abundant in open areas and in forests, both virgin and cutover, often forming almost pure stands.


The Tree: A medium-sized tree with trunk diameters to 24 in. and height to 70 ft, more commonly 40 ft tall and 8 to 12 in. in diameter at maturity. Stems are hollow, often housing small stinging ants.


The Wood:

General Characteristics: No distinction between sapwood and heartwood, whitish when freshly cut becoming pale brown or oatmeal colored upon exposure. Fairly lustrous; texture coarse; grain generally straight; without distinctive odor or taste.


Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.26 to 0.34, air- dry density 20 to 26 pcf.


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


Moisture content   Bending strength   Modulus of elasticity   Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (6)         4,040                              860                           1,870


12%                 6,490                             1,090             3,490


Green (30)       6,100                             1,210             3,240


15%                 8,800                   NA                          4,300



Janka side hardness 220 lb for green and 320 lb for dry material. Forest Products Laboratory toughness 62 in.-lb at 12% moisture content (5/8-in. specimen). Both of these tests on wood with basic specific gravity of 0.26.


Drying and Shrinkage: The wood air-seasons rapidly but with moderate to severe warp and little checking. The wood is also easy to kiln-dry without excessive seasoning degrade. A modified schedule, T7-B6, is suggested for 4/4 stock and a modified T5-B5 for 8/4(50). Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.0% tangential 6.2%; volumetric 8.3%.


Working Properties: Seasoned wood is very easy to saw and machine compared with green wood. Surfaces tend to tear and fuzz in shaping and turning but gives good results in planing and sanding. Nails readily and holds screws well. Difficult to finish with varnish or lacquer.


Durability: The wood is very susceptible to attack by decay fungi, termites, and other insects. Prone to blue stain.


Preservation: If incised or where there is high end-grain exposure, the wood will treat well using either pressure-vacuum systems or open tank.


Uses: Wood resembles North American black cottonwood in both density and mechanical properties. Used for plywood core stock, particleboard, matchsticks, boxes and crates, and excelsior. Neutral sulfite semi-chemical pulps were converted into bond papers of excellent brightness and appearance.


Additional Reading: (6), (30), (45), (50)


6.  Bendtsen, B.A. 1964. Some strength  and related properties of yagrumo hembra (Cecropia peltata) from Puerto Rico. USDA Forest Serv. Res. Note FPL-053. For. Prod. Lab., Madison, WI

30.  Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas. 1956. Tabelas de resultados obtidos para madeiras nacionais. Bol. Inst. Pesq. téc. Sčo Paulo No. 31.

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

50.  McMillen, J.M. 1961. Kiln schedules for Puerto Rican yagrumo hembra. Caribbean Forester 22(3/4):84-90.






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