Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Peltogyne spp. (Amarant, nazareno, pau roxo)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-CAESALPINIOIDEAE. Peltogyne catingae Ducke, P. confertiflora (Hayne) Benth., P. excelsa Ducke, P. lecointei Ducke, P. maranhensis Huber, P. mexicana Martínez, P. venosa (Vahl) Benth., etc. Trade and local names: Amarant, Violettholz (DE); purpleheart, amarant, violetwood (GB, GY, US); bois purpre, b. violet (FR); purpurheart (NL); koroborelli, merawayana, saka (GY); guarabu, jatobazinho, roxinho (BR); dastan, kocolorelli, malako (SR); tananeo (CO); palo de rosa, p. morado (MX). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 15. Tree. Geographic distribution: Mexico and Central America to tropical South America.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct or indistinct or absent (as a function of site and growth conditions). Heartwood basically purple (green wood), without streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Density (0.7–)0.83(–1.15) 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 (50–)80–110(–150) µm; diameter of vessel lumina: medium to large. Average number of vessels/mm² (6–)9–15(–22); vessels per square millimetre few. Average vessel element length 250–500 µm. Average vessel element length short to medium. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 4–7 µm, small, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (violet, sometimes also brown to almost black).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness, or very thick-walled. Average fibre length (1150–)1660(–2100) µm. Average fibre length medium to long. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal), fine, up to three cells wide. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma aliform, or confluent, or unilateral. Aliform parenchyma lozenge. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand (2–)4. Type and amont of axial parenchyma vary considerably from species to species..

Rays. Rays 5–8 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 2–5 cells wide, of medium width (3–5 seriate). Height of large rays commonly 500 to 1000 µm. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals 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 fluorescent (yellow). Water extract fluorescent (orange yellow); basically colourless to brown or shade of brown, or purple. Ethanol extract fluorescent (yellow green). Colour of ethanol extract colourless to brown or shade of brown, or purple. Chrome azurol-S test negative. Froth test positive (a faint ring of foam persists). Splinter burns to full ash. Ash bright white.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Peltogyne lecointei. • Transverse section. Peltogyne maranhensis. • Transverse section. Peltogyne pubescens. • Tangential section. Peltogyne lecointei. • Radial section. Peltogyne lecointei.


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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