Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Guilandina echinata (Lam.) Spreng. (Páu brasil, Fernambuc, brazilwood)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-CAESALPINIOIDEAE. Syn.: Caesalpinia echinata Lam. Trade and local names: Pernambuk, Fernambuk, Rotholz, Echtes Brasilholz (DE); arabutan, brasiletto, ibira-pitanga, pau Brasil, pauu rosado, pau Pernambuco, ypirapiranga (BR); legno del Brasile, legnorosso (IT); bois de Brésil, bois de fernambouc, pernambouc (FR); brazilwood (GB). Not protected under CITES regulations ((locally (Brazil) on the IBAMA list of endangered plants)).

Tree. Geographic distribution: tropical South America and southern Brazil (natural distribution northeastern Brazil, cultivated in southern Brazil).

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically brown to red to yellow (orange brown when fresh, darkening upon exposure), without streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Density 0.75–0.82–1 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 54–107–225 µm (65–100–140 fide Wagenführ). Average number of vessels/mm² 15–23–30. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 4–5 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (orange to dark brown).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thick-walled. Average fibre length 610–1075–1310 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, banded and not banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal), fine, up to three cells wide. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma vasicentric to aliform to confluent. Aliform parenchyma lozenge. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–4 (rarely more).

Rays. Rays 7–12 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), (1–)2–3 cells wide. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent. Occasionally also heterocellular rays.

Storied structures. Storied structure present or absent, all rays storied, axial parenchyma storied, vessel elements not storied. Arrangement of tiers frequently irregular.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells and axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square and procumbent, upright and/or square ray cells chambered. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one, or more than one (rarely more then one). Crystals in one cell or chamber of the same size, or of two distinct sizes (rarely). Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood fluorescent (orange). Water extract fluorescent (brilliant yellow to yellowish-green); basically red or shade of red and yellow or shade of yellow (orange red). Heartwood extractives not leachable by water. Ethanol extract fluorescent (light orange). Colour of ethanol extract yellow or shade of yellow (yellowish orange). Splinter burns to full ash. Ash white to grey.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Transverse. Radial. Guilandina (Caesalpinia) echinata. • Transverse section 1. Guilandina echinata. • Transverse section 2. Guilandina echinata. • Tangential section. Guilandina echinata. • Radial section. Guilandina echinata.


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., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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