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Detailed Specs: Wamara

Scientific Name:  Swartzia spp.
Family:  Leguminosae
Other Names:  Naranjillo (Mexico, Hondurus, Panama), Parakusan (Guyana), Gandoe, Ijzerhart (Suriname), Alma negra (Columbia), Orura barrialera (Venezuela), Icoje (Peru), Pau ferro, Mututy (Brazil)

The Tree

Sizes vary considerably with species, some reaching heights of 110 feet with trunk diameters commonly to 24 inches reaching 3 6 inches.

The Wood

General Characteristics: Heartwood is dark brown, reddish brown or nearly black in solid colour or somewhat variegated. It is sharply demarcated from the nearly white to yellowish sapwood. Texture is fine to medium; grain straight to irregular; without any distinctive odour or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (oven dry weight/green volume) 0.87 to 1.02; air- dry density 65 to 75 pcf.

Drying and Shrinkage: Generally had been reported to be moderately difficult to air dry due to checking and warp. Kiln schedule T2-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T2-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage is green to ovendry: radial 3.9%; tangential 7.6%; volumetric 11.2%. Movement after manufacture of some species is reported high.

Working Properties: The difficult to work because of their high density, but finish very smoothly and takes high to polish. Workers should be protected from the irritating dust given off by some species.

Durability: Heartwood is extremely resistant to attack by decay fungi and resistant to dry wood termites. It is not resistant to marine borers.

Distribution:  From Southern Mexico, through Central America, the West Indies and southward to northern South America; especially abundant in the Guianas and the Amazon region.

Uses: Used for inlay flooring, parquet flooring, turnery, furniture, cabinetwork, violin bows and specialty items. It is a suggeste d as a substitute for ebony.


–       Chundnoff, Martin (1984), “Tropical Timbers of the World.” USDA Forest Service Ag. Handbook No.607.

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