Mexico, throughout Central America and the West Indies to
northern Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru. The tree’s best
development is on ridges or slopes and high riverbanks.
General Characteristics: Trees
may grow to a height of 130 ft with the trunk diameters
of 5 to 6 ft; usually less than 100 ft high with diameters
of 2 to 4 ft. Boles are well formed, often clear to 40
to 80 ft, and a basally swollen or buttressed in large
trees. Heartwood is salmon red to orange brown when fresh,
becoming russet to reddish brown when seasoned; often marked
with dark streaks. Sapwood is usually wide, white, gray,
or pinkish. Texture is medium to rather coarse; grain is
mostly interlocked; golden luster; without distinctive
odor or taste.
Weight: Basic specific gravity
(ovendry weight/green volume) 0.71 to 0.82; air-dry density
52 to 61 pcf.
Working Properties: The
wood is moderately difficult to saw and machine largely
because of its high density, but except in planning it
can be machined to a smooth surface. The wood is somewhat
difficult to plane because of the interlocked grain. It
is easy to glue and finish satisfactorily; steam-bending
properties comparable to white oak.
Durability: Laboratory evaluations
rate the wood very resistant to brown-rot and white-rot
fungi; actual field exposure trials also rate the wood
as very durable. Heartwood is also rated very resistant
to dry-wood termites; little resistance to marine borers.
is not treatable using open-tank or pressure-vacuum systems.
Sapwood, however, is responsive.