CITESwoodID: descriptions, illustrations, identification and information retrieval

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H. G. Richter, K. Gembruch, G. Koch

Caesalpinia echinata Lam. (Pau Brasil, Fernambuc) - CITES II

Nomenclature. Family: FABACEAE-CAESALPINIOIDEAE. Synonym(s): Guilandina echinata (Lam.) Sprengl. Further trade and local names: arabutá, brasilete(o), ibirapiranga, pau-pernambuco, pau vermelho (BR); Rotholz, Echtes Brasilholz (DE); pau Brazil, brazilwood (GB); legno del Brasile, legnorosso (IT); bois de Brésil, bois de fernambouc, pernambouc

(FR). Code according to DIN EN 13556: CSEC. Internal code: PBR.

CITES(EU) status of protection. Listed in Annex II(B). Similar woods: Caesalpinia spp., Brosimum rubescens.

Geographic distribution. Tropical South America (Northeast Brazil). Bahia, Espirito Santo, Pernambuco.

Growth rings, colour, grain, etc. Growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically brown to yellow (orange brown when fresh, darkening upon exposure); without streaks. Sapwood distinct from heartwood colour. Wood heavy and hard (0.80–1.20 g/cm3). Interlocked grain present.

Hardwood vs softwood. Vessels (pores) present (= hardwood).

Vessels (pores). Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels (pores) in multiples; commonly in short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Vessels small to medium (60–200); few to moderately numerous (15–30). Tyloses absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels (pores) present (orange to dark brown), or absent (in case sapwood is mistaken for heartwood).

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present; banded. Parenchyma bands exclusively marginal (or seemingly marginal); narrow. Other macroscopically visible types of axial parenchyma: vasicentric to aliform. Aliform parenchyma of the lozenge type.

Rays. Rays narrow. Large rays commonly less than 1 mm high.

Storied structure. Storied structure present, or absent. Tiers regular (horizontal or slightly inclined) to irregular.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood fluorescent (orange). Water extract fluorescent (brilliant yellow); red, or yellow (reddish-orange). Heartwood extractives leaching out when in contact with water (two color components visible: red and orange). Ethanol extract fluorescent (light yellowish); yellow (light yellowish orange). Splinter burns to full ash; colour of ash white to grey.

Additional information. • pbr.jpg. Caesalpinia echinata (Pau Brasil). Transverse section ca. 10x. Radial surface, natural size. • pbr-chk.jpg. The two Caesalpinia species are virtually identical in colour, weight and macro structure. They can only be separated by means of the water extract fluorescence (vivid yellow in Pau Brasil, only weakly fluorescent in Chakté viga). • pbr-sat.jpg. Ceasalpinia echinata and Brosimum rubescens are easily separated on account of their different macrostructure, colour and fluorescence properties. In arts and crafts Satiné is the most frequent substitute for Pau Brasil.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., Gembruch, K., and Koch, G. 2014 onwards. CITESwoodID: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, and Spanish. Version: 16th May 2014. delta-intkey.com’.

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