Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Dalbergia retusa Hemsl. (Cocobolo)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-FABOIDEAE. Plus D. hypoleuca Pittier, D. lineata Pittier, D. granadillo Pittier. Trade and local names: cocobolo (DE, FR, NL, GB, CO, PA); granadillo (GT, HN, MX, NI); ñambar, ñambar legítimo (NI); tampizarán (MX); palo negro (HN); ñambar (CR); palisandro (CO); funera (ES); Nicaragua rosewood (GB); Salamanderholz, Korallen- Palisander (DE). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Mexico and Central America (up to northern Columbia).

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct or indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically yellow to brown to red (yellowish to orange brown when fresh, darkening to deep reddish brown), with streaks (dark brown to purplish black). Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour distinct (sweetly aromatic). Density 0.89–1–1.35 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Two distinct vessel diameter classes absent. Average tangential vessel diameter 80–320 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 3–6. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 8–10 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders or with reduced borders or apparently simple (state 2 rare), similar to intervessel pits, rounded or angular. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thick-walled. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded and not banded (bands often narrow and indistinct). Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal), fine, up to three cells wide. Axial parenchyma apotracheal and paratracheal (predominantly apotracheal). Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse and diffuse-in-aggregates (mostly in aggregates as short lines between rays). Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty and vasicentric. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2 (rarely in series of 4, paratracheal parenchyma up to 6 cells).

Rays. Rays 9–15 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–2 cells wide (rarely 3 cells wide). Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular) (occasionally with tendency to heterocelular composition); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

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 5–6.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent.

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

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Dalbergia retusa. • Tangential section. Dalbergia retusa. • Radial section. Dalbergia retusa.

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.’.