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Other Common Names: Palo morado (Mexico), Morado (Panama, Venezuela), Tananeo (Columbia), Koroboreli (Guyana), Purperhart (Surinam), Amarante (French Guiana), Pau roxo, Guarabu (Brazil), Violetwood (English trade).

Distribution: Center of distribution in the north-middle part of the Brazilian Amazon region; combined range of all species from Mexico through Central America and southward to southern Brazil.

The Tree: Trees grow to heights of 170 ft with diameters to 4 ft, but usually 1.5 to 3 ft; boles are straight, cylindrical, and clear 60 to 90 ft above buttresses up to 12 ft. high.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood brown when freshly cut becoming deep purple upon exposure, eventually turning to a dark brown sharply demarcated from the off-white sapwood.  Texture medium to fine; luster medium to high, variable; grain usually straight, sometimes wavy, roey, or irregular; without distinctive odor or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varies with species from 0.67 to 0.91; air-dry density 50 to 66 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (First set of data based on the 2-in.  standard; second on the 2-cm standard; third on the 1-in.  standard.)

Moisture content  (%)  Bending strength (Psi) Modulus of elasticity (1,000 psi)  Maximum crushing strength (Psi)
Green (75)    13,690       2,000  7,020  
12% 19,220 2,270 10,320
Green (30)  21,000 2,560 9,250
15% 26,700 NA 12,200
12% (24) 30,900 3,460 14,500

Janka side hardness ranges from 1,860 lb to 3,920 lb at 12% moisture content.  Forest Products Laboratory toughness at 12% moisture content ranges from 157 to 398 in.-lb. (5/8-in.  specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Reports vary, from air-dries easily to moderately difficult; dries slowly to fairly rapidly; with almost no degrade to some warping and splitting Kiln schedule T6-D2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T3-D1 for 8/4.  Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 3.2%; tangential 6.1%; volumetric 9.9%.  Stability after manufacture or movement is rated as small.

Working Properties: Moderately difficult to work with either hand or machine tools, dulls cutters, exudes a gummy resin when heated by dull tools; slow feed rates and specially hardened cutters are suggested.  Turns smoothly, easy to glue, and takes finishes well.

Durability: Heartwood is rated as highly durable in resistance to attack by decay fungi; very resistant to dry-wood termites; but little resistance to marine borers.

Preservation: Heartwood is reported to be extremely resistant to impregnation with preservative oils; sapwood is permeable.

Uses: Turnery, marquetry, cabinets, fine furniture, parquet flooring, tool handles, heavy construction, shipbuilding, many specialty items (billiard cue butts, chemical vats, carving).

Source: US Forest Service