Piratinera guianensis

syn. Brosinum guianensis

Family: Moraceae
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Letterwood

Snakewood

Other Common Names: Cacique carey (Panama), Palo de oro (Venezuela), Burokoro, Tibicusi (Guyana), Letterhout (Surinam), Bois d'amourette (French Guiana), Gateado, Muirapenima (Brazil).

 

Distribution: Guianas, Trinidad, and the Amazon region; a rare to occasional tree.

 

The Tree: Unbuttressed small tree, up to 80 ft in height with trunk diameters of 12 to 20 in.; bole is cylindrical and clear for 40 to 50 ft.

 

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood dark red to reddish brown with irregular radial black markings or with black vertical stripes alone or in conjunction with the speckles; sapwood very thick, yellowish white, line of demarcation often irregular and not very sharp.  Luster medium to high; texture fine and uniform; grain straight; odorless and tasteless.

 

Weight: Basic specific gravity (green volume/ovendry weight) 0.82 to 1.10; air- dry density 63 to 84 pcf.

 

Mechanical Properties: No strength values available but reported to be a strong hardwood that splits rather easily, heartwood is rather brittle.

 

Drying and Shrinkage: Should be dried carefully and in small pieces; shrinkage is reported to be rather high.

 

Working Properties: Works with difficulty because of hardness; turns well and takes a beautiful polish.

 

Durability: Heartwood very resistant to attack by decay fungi and dry-wood termites.

 

Preservation: No information available.

 

Uses: Inlay, turnery, fancy handles for cutlery, violin bows, walking sticks, drum sticks, butts of fishing rods.

 

Additional Reading: (46), (56), (72)

 

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

56.  Record, S. J., and R. W. Hess.  1949.  Timbers of the new world.  Yale University Press, New Haven,       Conn.

72.  Vink, A. T. 1965.  Surinam timbers: A summary of available information with brief descriptions of             the main species of Surinam.  Surinam Forest Service, Paramaribo.

 

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