Other Common Names: Alma negra, Sapan (Colombia), Cabari, Timbo pau, Timbo rana (Brazil).
Distribution: Several species distributed in the Guianas, central and northern Amazon region, and into the Magdalena Valley of Columbia.
The Tree: The trees are unbuttressed but basally swollen, usually 16 to 20 in. in diameter and 90 to 100 ft tall; the main stem often clear for 40 ft and more. Diameters of 4 to 5 ft are reported in Trinidad. Trees thrive in swampy areas and on hillsides having high rainfall.
General Characteristics: The sapwood is thick, sharply defined, yellowish to brownish white. Heartwood is pinkish brown to dark brown streaked with light colored parenchyma bands. Grain is straight to irregular; texture medium to very coarse; luster medium to dull; odorless and tasteless.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) averages from 0.80 to 0.97; air-dry density 60 to 75 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
12% (20) 23,100 NA 16,500
12% (21) 28,600 3,500 13,900
Janka side hardness at 12% moisture content 2,960 lb.
Drying and Shrinkage: Wood is moderately difficult to dry with a tendency to warp and check. No data on kiln schedules available. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 5.0%; tangential 6.7%; volumetric 11.9%.
Working Properties: The wood is reported to be difficult to saw and difficult to work on all machines except dresses well in planing and sanding. The wood finishes smoothly and takes a high polish; easy to glue.
Durability: Reported to be moderately to highly resistant to attack by decay fungi; moderately resistant to subterranean termites, and probably has moderate to low resistance to marine borers.
Preservation: No data available, heartwood probably not treatable.
Uses: Heavy construction, furniture components, and flooring.
Additional Reading: (20), (21), (46)
20. Falla Ramirez, A. 1971. Resultados de los estudios f’sico-meca‡nicos de 41 especies maderables de la region CaraŽ-Opon. Plegable Divulgativo, Divisi—n Forestal. INDERENA, Bogot‡.
21. Falla Ramirez, A. 1971. Resultados de estudios f’sico-meca‡nicos de algunas maderas de la Serraniae San Lucas. Plegable Divulgativo, Divisi—n Forestal. INDERENA, Bogot‡.
46. Longwood, F.R. 1962. Present and potential commercial timbers of the Caribbean. Agriculture Handbook No. 207. U.S. Department of Agriculture.
From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.