Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Virola spp. (Virola, bicuiba)

Nomenclature etc. MYIDSTICACEAE. V. carinata, V. cuspidata, V. elongata, V. flexuosa, V. gardneri, V. kukachkana, V. michelii, V. multicostata, V. pavonis, V. sebifera, V. surinamensis. Trade and local names: bicuiba, bucuva, bucuvcú (BR); sebo, otobo, nu namo (CO); virola ( trade.

Tree. Geographic distribution: tropical South America to southern Brazil.

General. Heartwood basically pinkish brown red. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Density 0.4–0.65 g/cm³ (V. carinata: 0.70–0.75).

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 90–160 µm (140–200 in V. kukachkana, V. surinamensis). Average number of vessels/mm² 6–12 (2–5 in V. kukachkana, V. surinamensis). Perforation plates predominantly simple (rarely) or scalariform, with (1–)3–8 bars. Irregular, reticulate perforation plates can also be observed occasionally; diagnostically insignificant. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 8–12 µm. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular or horizontal to vertical, of uniform size or type. Tyloses in vessels present (sporadically), thinwalled.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thin-walled, or of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 1200–1800 µm (V. surinamensis). Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres septate and non-septate, or non-septate. Septate fibres scattered near vessels and rays.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded or not banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal), fine, up to three cells wide. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 4–10.

Rays. Rays 5–9 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), (1–)2 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 or mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Oil and mucilage cells absent. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes present.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals not observed. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Transverse. Tangential. Virola sp. • Transverse section. Virola multinervia. • Tangential section. Virola multinervia. • Radial section. Virola multinervia. • Tanniniferous tube. Virola sebifera. Tanniniferous tube in ray (TB). TB.

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.’.