Hura crepitans
Family: Euphorbiaceae
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Hura

Possumwood

Other Common Names: Arbol del diablo, Haba (Mexico), Jabillo (Central America), Ceiba amarilla, Ceiba de Leche (Colombia), Ceiba blanca, Ceiba habillo (Venezuela), Assacu, Acacu (Brazil).

 

Distribution: Throughout the West Indies and from Central America to northern Brazil

and Bolivia.  Often occurs in nearly pure stands in Surinam on moist sandy loam.

Frequently cultivated for shade.

 

The Tree: Commonly reaches heights of 90 to 130 ft with clear boles of 40 to 75 ft; diameters of 3 to 5 ft and at times 6 to 9 ft.  Trees often have small buttresses; bark covered with conical spines.

 

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood pale yellowish brown or pale olive gray; sapwood yellowish white often indistinct from heartwood.  Texture fine to medium; luster high; grain straight to interlocked; without distinctive odor or taste.

 

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.33 to 0.38; air- dry density 25 to 28 pcf.

 

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

 

Moisture content   Bending strength   Modulus of elasticity   Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (74)                   6,310                           1,040                           2,790

12%                             8,710                           1,170                           4,800

 

Green (48)                   5,100                              820                           2,270

15%                             8,000                              NA                           3,860

 

12% (44)                     7,050                              895                           NA

 

Janka side hardness 440 lb for green material and 550 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 70 in.-lb. (5/8-in.  specimen).

 

Drying and Shrinkage: Moderately difficult to air-dry; with variable warping, sometimes severe.  Checking is slight.  Dry kiln schedule T6-D2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and schedule T3-D1 for 8/4.  Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.7%; tangential 4.5%; volumetric 7.3%.  Movement in place is rated as medium.

 

Working Properties: The wood usually machines easily but green material is somewhat difficult to work due to tension wood, resulting in fuzzy surfaces.  The wood finishes well and is easy to glue and nail.

 

Durability: The wood is reported to be very variable in resistance to attack by decay fungi; highly susceptible to blue stain and very susceptible to dry-wood termites.

 

Preservation: The wood is easy to treat, with absorption to 20 pcf using an open-tank process.

 

Uses: General carpentry, boxes and crates, veneer and plywood, joinery, furniture, fiberboard, and particleboard.

 

Additional Reading: (44), (46), (48), (74)

 

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/PAN/6.  FAO, Rome.

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

48.  Mainieri, C. 1971.25 madeiras da Amazonia de valor comercial, caracterizacao,             macroscopica, usos comuns, e indices qualificativos.  Publicacao, Inst.  de Pesqu.             tec.  So Paulo No.  798.

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.