Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Couratari spp. (Tauarí)

Nomenclature etc. LECYTHIDACEAE. C. guianensis Aubl., C. exigua Miers, C. macrosperma A.C. Smith, C. multiflora (J.E. Smith) Eyma, C. oblongifolia Ducke & Knuth, C. stellata A.C. Smith. Trade and local names: tauarí, tauary (BR, VE); wadara, w. kakawalli (GY), ingie pipa (SR); balata blanc, maho cigarre (GF); "Brasilianische Wildkirsche" (DE). Not protected under CITES regulations.

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

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct or indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically white or grey white or grey to brown. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Density 0.5–0.72 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples. Average tangential vessel diameter (120–)150–230(–330) µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 2–3(–5). Average vessel element length 300–450–1000 µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) (7–)8–10(–12) µm. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thin-walled, or of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 800–1600–2500 µm. 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), scalariform, fine, up to three cells wide, 4–8 per radial mm (C. oblongifolia) or 2 per radial mm (Couratari spp.). Number of parenchyma bands per mm increasing considerably in latewood. Axial parenchyma apotracheal, or paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates (in short, wavy lines). Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand (3–)4–6(–8).

Rays. Rays 5–12 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), (2–)3–5 cells wide. 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. Sheath cells absent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered (crystals often in very long chains; in this case embedded in unilaterally thickened walls at the adaxial side). Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Silica present, as grains, in rays cells.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Transverse. Radial. Couratari sp. • Transverse section. Couratari pulchra. • Tangential section 1. Couratari pulchra. • Tangential section 2. Couratari multiflora. Couratari coriacea. • Radial section. Couratari pulchra. • Miscellaneous. Couratari pulchra. Note prismatic crystals in long chains of chambered axial parenchyma cells with unilaterally thickened walls (left) and silica particles in ray cells (right).

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.’.