Common Name(s): Cocuswood, Jamaican Ebony
Scientific Name: Brya ebenus
Distribution: The Caribbean (primarily Jamaica and Cuba)
Tree Size: 30-50 ft (9-15 m) tall, 3-6 in (8-15 cm) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 72 lbs/ft3 (1,160 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .92, 1.16
Janka Hardness: 3,720 lbf (16,550 N)
Modulus of Rupture: No data available
Elastic Modulus: No data available
Crushing Strength: No data available
Shrinkage: No data available
Color/Appearance: Medium to dark reddish brown, with darker blackish streaks. Color darkens with age. Sharply demarcated sapwood is pale yellow.
Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight or slightly wavy. Fine, even texture with good natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples; medium pores in no specific arrangement, few to very few; mineral/gum deposits common; parenchyma vasicentric, diffuse-in-aggregates, and banded; narrow rays, spacing close.
Rot Resistance: Rated as durable to very durable.
Workability: Despite its high density, Cocuswood is easy to work.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Cocuswood has been reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Exports are essentially non-existent. Due to past exploitation, samples and turning blanks are exceptionally rare, and are likely to be very expensive.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, due to intense exploitation in previous centuries, for all intents and purposes, Cocuswood has been commercially exhausted.
Common Uses: Turned objects, woodwinds (flutes, oboes, bagpipes, etc.), carvings, inlays, and other small specialty items.
Comments: Because of this wood’s great density and hardness, coupled with its coloration, Cocuswood has sometimes been referred to as Jamaican Ebony. In the form of a tree, it is more commonly known as the Jamaican Rain Tree.
Traditionally, Cocuswood has been considered one of the very finest of tonewoods, used extensively for woodwind instruments in the 1800s. Today, the preferred tonewood for woodwinds has largely been superseded by African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon).