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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Dalbergia latifolia Roxb. (Indian rosewood, sonokeling)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-FABOIDEAE. Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 6 specimens. Tree. Geographic distribution: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Indomalesia.

General. Heartwood basically brown and purple, with streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour distinct. Density 0.77–0.88–0.93 g/cm³.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows and radial rows of 4 or more. Vessel outline rounded. Two distinct vessel diameter classes absent. Average tangential vessel diameter 80–125–175 µm; diameter of vessel lumina: medium and large. Average number of vessels/mm² 4–8. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 7–10 µm, medium, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits, of uniform size or type, of the same type in adjacent elements, located throughout the ray. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present, brown-violet deposits.

Tracheids and fibres. Vascular or vasicentric tracheids sporadic to absent. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length short. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Helical thickenings absent. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, banded and not banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal) and not marginal (or seemingly marginal), bands much wider than rays, fine, up to three cells wide and coarse, more than three cells wide. Axial parenchyma apotracheal and paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse. Paratracheal axial parenchyma vasicentric, aliform, and confluent. Aliform parenchyma lozenge and winged. Axial parenchyma fusiform and as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2(–4). Unlignified parenchyma absent.

Rays. Rays present, 8–12 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–3(–4) cells wide, narrow (2–3 seriate). Rays with multiseriate portions as wide as uniseriate portions absent. Aggregate rays absent. Rays of one size. Height of large rays up to 500 µm. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent. Sheath cells absent. Tile cells absent. Perforated ray cells absent. Disjunctive ray parenchyma end walls indistinct or absent.

Storied structures. Storied structure present, all rays storied, axial parenchyma storied, vessel elements storied, fibres storied. Arrangement of tiers regular (horizontal or straight). Number of ray tiers per axial millimetre 4–5.

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

Cambial variants. Included phloem absent. Other cambial variants absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in infrequent ray cells or axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Crystal containing cells of normal size. Cystoliths absent. Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract fluorescent; basically colourless to brown or shade of brown. Heartwood extractives not leachable by water. Ethanol extract fluorescent. Colour of ethanol extract red or shade of red and purple. Fluorescence of water extract yellowish, that of ethanol extract yellowish brown. Chrome azurol-S test negative. Froth test positive. Splinter burns to partial ash. Ash white to grey.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Dalbergia latifolia. Transverse. Radial. • Transverse section. Dalbergia latifolia. • Tangential section. Dalbergia latifolia. • Radial section. Dalbergia latifolia.


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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