Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Hymenaea courbaril L., Hymenaea spp. (Jatobá, courbaril)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-CAESALPINIOIDEAE. Trade and local names: courbaril (DE, FR, GB, GY); algarrobo (BR, VE); corobore (VE); jatobá, jutabí, jutaí, jutahy, fainheira (BR); locust (GB, NL); kawanari; itaiba locust (GY); algarroba, coapinol, ñere (MX); guapinol (MX, NI, CR); avati (PA); copalier (GY, AN); rode locust, witte locust, West Indian locust (NL). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Mexico and Central America, Caribbean, and tropical South America.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Growth ring boundaries demarcated by marginal parenchyma. Heartwood basically brown to red to purple (orange to purplish brown), nearly black with streaks or without streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.71–0.82–0.9 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 75–175–260 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 1–3–6. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) (5–)7–9 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present, dark brown.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness to very thick-walled. Average fibre length 730–1370–1860 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered (numerous and distinct). Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded and not banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal). Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma vasicentric, or aliform to confluent. Aliform parenchyma predominantly lozenge, or winged. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–4.

Rays. Rays 6–9 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–4–6 cells wide. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent. Occasional occurrence of traumatic canals has been reported in literature. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood extractives not leachable by water.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Hymenaea courbaril. Transverse. Radial. • Transverse section. Hymenaea courbaril. • Tangential section. Hymenaea courbaril. • Radial section. Hymenaea courbaril.


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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