Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Bowdichia spp., Diplotropis spp. u.a. (Sucupira)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-FABOIDEAE. Bowdichia nitida Benth., B. virgilioides H.B.K., Diplotropis purpurea (Rich.) Amsh. - Syn.: Bowdichia guianensis Ducke, Diplotropis guianensis Benth., Tachigali pupurea Rich.; Ferreirea spectabilis Fr. Allem. Trade and local names: sucupira (DE, BR, GB), sapupira do campo, -preta, sebipira, cutiuba, paricarana (BR), coeur dehors (FR). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: tropical South America.

General. Growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically brown to yellow brown to black, without streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.7–0.85 g/cm³.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 70–150–260 µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 6–9 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders and with reduced borders or apparently simple, similar to intervessel pits or different from intervessel pits (only D. purpurea), of the same type in adjacent elements. Helical thickenings absent.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness to very thick-walled. Fibre pits common in both radial and tangential walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, not banded. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma vasicentric, aliform, and confluent (typically vasicentric only in F. spectabilis). Aliform parenchyma lozenge and winged. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–4.

Rays. Rays 6–8 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 2–4 cells wide. Aggregate rays absent. 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 (B. nitida). Sheath cells absent. Tile cells absent.

Storied structures. Storied structure present or absent (storied structure conspicuous in B. virgilioides, weakly so in D. purpurea, absent in B. nitida and F. spectabilis), all rays storied, axial parenchyma storied, vessel elements storied (B. virigilioides), fibres storied or not storied.

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

Cambial variants. Included phloem absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present or not observed (D. purpurea), prismatic, located in ray cells or axial parenchyma cells (only B. nitida and B. virgilioides). Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square and procumbent, upright and/or square ray cells chambered. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Cystoliths absent. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Bowdichia sp.. • Tangential section. Bowdichia nitida. • Radial section. Bowdichia nitida.

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.’.