Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Diospyros spp. (Gestreifte Ebenhölzer, streaked ebony)

Nomenclature etc. EBENACEAE. Diospyros celebica, D. discolor, D. insularis, D. kurzii, D. marmorata etc. Trade and local names: D. celebica: Coromandel (NL); Macassar eb ony (GB, trade); Makassar Ebenholz, gestreiftes Ebenholz (DE); kayu hitam, batuline, maitem, gongo moitomo (ID). D. discolor: kamagong (PH). D. insularis: New Guinea ebony (PG, trade). D. kurzii, D. marmorata: Andaman marblewood, zebrawood (GB, trade). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka to Indomalesia.

General. Heartwood basically brown and black, with streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Density 0.85–1.05 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows or radial rows of 4 or more. Average tangential vessel diameter 100–160 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 9–32. Average vessel element length 900–1500 µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 2–10 µm (D. kurzii + D. marmorata: 2–4 µm; D. discolor, D. insularis: 5–6 µm; Diospyros celebica: 7–10 µm). Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (black, some reddish-brown).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thick-walled. Fibre pits common in both radial and tangential walls, distinctly bordered.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded. Axial parenchyma bands reticulate, fine, up to three cells wide. Bands predominantly uniseriate, some possibly indicating growth boundaries (marginal?). Axial parenchyma apotracheal, or paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty, or vasicentric. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 4–8.

Rays. Rays 15–20 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells to mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells. Sporadically also biseriate rays.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells or axial parenchyma cells (see commentary below). Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square or procumbent, upright and/or square ray cells chambered or not chambered. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered, or not chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Cystoliths absent. In the three species Diospyros celebica, D. discolor and D. insularis prismatic crystals occur in non-chambered cells, primarily in wood rays, more rarely in axial parenchyma. In D. kurzii and D. marmorata the prismatic crystals occur mostly in chambered cells, predominantly in axial parenchyma and less frequently in rays.. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Diospyros celebica. Transverse. Radial. • Transverse section. Diospyros celebica. • Tangential section. Diospyros celebica. • Radial section. Diospyros celebica.

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.’.