Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Pterocarpus soyauxii Taub. (Padouk)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-FABOIDEAE. Trade and local names: Afrikanisches Padouk, Afrikanisches Korallenholz (DE), legno corallo (IT), African padouk, barwood, camwood (GB), bois corail, padouk (FR), Africaans padoek (NL), takula (AO), m'bel, Ebeu (GA), palo rojo (GQ), ba, corail, epion, mohingué, muengé, ndimbo (CM), boisulu, kisésé, mukala (CG), ngula, wele (CD), arapka, osun (NG). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: tropical Africa.

General. Heartwood basically red to yellow brown to red to purple brown to yellow, with streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour distinct (weakly like vanilla). Density 0.58–0.65–0.73 g/cm³. Strikingly orange to redbrown, fading to yellowish brown upon exposure.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 115–230–295 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 1–2. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) (8–)9–12(–13) µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders or with reduced borders or apparently simple, similar to intervessel pits, rounded or angular. Helical thickenings absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (orange brown).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 1035–1380–1660 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded. Axial parenchyma bands not marginal (or seemingly marginal). Axial parenchyma apotracheal and paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates (short tangential lines without contact to vessels). Paratracheal axial parenchyma aliform and confluent. Aliform parenchyma winged. Axial parenchyma fusiform and as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2.

Rays. Rays 12–17 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate. Height of large rays up to 500 µm. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Storied structures. Storied structure present, all rays storied, axial parenchyma storied, vessel elements storied, fibres storied.

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. Crystal containing cells of normal size, or enlarged (idioblasts). Cystoliths absent. Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract not fluorescent; basically colourless to brown or shade of brown (very light orange brown). Ethanol extract fluorescent (weakly greenish blue). Water extract not fluorescent, ethanol extract weakly greenish blue.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Pterocarpus soyauxii. • Tangential section. Pterocarpus soyauxii. • Radial section. Pterocarpus soyauxii.


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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