Magnolia spp.
Family: Magnoliaceae
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Other Common Names: Laurel sabino (Puerto Rico), Corpus, Elosuchil, Semiramis (Mexico), candelilo (Costa Rica), Vaco (Panama).


Distribution: Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies; mostly in the highlands.


The Tree: Tree heights are 70 to 100 ft with diameters occasionally up to 5 ft or more, commonly 3 ft. Boles are straight with clear lengths of 40 ft and more; sometimes buttressed.


The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood olive green when freshly cut becoming light yellowish brown to greenish brown sometimes with a purplish tinge upon exposure; purple, dark brown, darkening somewhat on exposure. Texture fine and uniform; luster low to moderate; grain straight to interlocked; without distinctive odor or taste.


Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varying with the species from 0.45 to 0.59; air-dry density 34 to 44 pcf.


Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard.)


Moisture content   Bending strength   Modulus of elasticity   Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (74)                   8,560                          1,690                        3,590

12%                             14,250                         1,970                        7,850


12% (62)                     11,500                         1,450                           _


Janka side hardness 860 lb for green material and 1,090 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 118 in.-lb. (5/8-in.  specimen).


Drying and Shrinkage: All species are easy to air-season; the wood dries rapidly with no or slight warp and checking. No data available on kiln schedules. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 3.6%; tangential 7.0%; volumetric 11.2%.


Working Properties: The wood saws and machines easily, however in planning there may be considerable tearing where grain is irregular. M. sororum is reported to be fair to good in steam-bending quality.


Durability: Heartwood is rated durable to highly durable with respect to deterioration by both white-rot and brown- rot fungi but vulnerable to dry-wood termite attack.


Preservation: Heartwood is resistant to moisture absorption and is probably difficult to treat


Uses: Utility veneer and plywood, millwork, furniture and cabinet work, general interior and exterior construction, boat planking, and turnery.


Additional Reading:: (45), (62), (74)

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

62.  Slooten, H.J. van der, I. Acosta-Contreras, and P.S. Aas. 1970. Maderas latinoamericans. III. Podocarpus standleyi, Podocarpus oleifolius, Drimys granadensis, Magnolia poasana,  y Didymopanax pittieri. Turrialba 20(1):105-115.

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.