Centrolobium spp.
Family: Leguminosae
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Other Common Names: Amarillo guayaquil (Panama, Ecuador), Guayacan hobo, Balaustre

(Colombia, Venezuela), Ararauba, Ararauva (Brazil), Morosimo (Paraguay).


Distribution: Five or six species of rather infrequent occurrence from Panama to Ecuador and southern Brazil.


The Tree: A medium-sized to large well-formed tree; generally up to 100 ft high with diameters of 30 to 50 in.; commonly to heights of 40 ft and diameters to 16 in. Narrow buttresses to heights of 3 ft in some species.


The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood yellow or orange, typically variegated, sometimes "rainbow hued," usually changing to red or brown; rather sharply demarcated from the yellowish sapwood. Luster medium to high; texture fine to rather coarse; grain straight to irregular; some species without odor or taste, others with distinctive odor and sometimes with perceptive taste.


Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varies with species from 0.61 to 0.69; air-dry density 46 to 53 pcf.


Mechanical Properties: (First set of data based on 2-cm standard, second set on 1-i

standard, and third on 2-in. standard.)


Moisture content   Bending strength   Modulus of elasticity   Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (30)                   14,200             1,500                           5,900


15%                             16,800             NA                              7,900


12% (24)                     18,600             2,130                           9,550


12% (44)                     17,200             2,440                           NA


Janka side hardness 1,030 lb for dry wood. Amsler toughness 288 in.-lb at 15% moisture content (2-cm specimen).


Drying and Shrinkage: Reported to have a moderate drying rate with little to no warp or checking. Kiln schedule T6-D2 is suggested for 4/4 stock of C. ochroxylon and T3-D1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.4%; tangential 5.6%; volumetric 8.4%.


Working Properties: The wood is easy to machine with all tools; finishing very smoothly but there may be some fuzzy grain on planing of radial surfaces.


Durability: The wood is reported to be highly resistant to attack by decay fungi, termites and other insects, and marine borers (Teredo).


Preservation: impregnation with wood preservatives is only moderate using pressure-vacuum systems, absorption and penetration is negligible using the open-tank method.


Uses: Heavy construction, railroad crossties, fine furniture and cabinet work, flooring, ship components (planking, keel, decking, and trim), turnery, decorative veneers, cooperage.


Additional Reading: (24), (30), (44), (56)


24.  Food and Agriculture Organization. 1970. Estudio de preinversión para el desarrollo forestal de la Guyana Venezolana. Informe final. Tomo III. Las maderas del area del proyecto. FAO Report FAO/SF:82 VEN 5. Rome.

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

44. Llach, C.L. 1971.  Properties and uses of 113 timber-yielding species of Panama. Part 3.Physical and mechanical properties of 113 tree species. FO- UNDP/SF PAN/6. FAO, Rome.

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.