Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)

Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)

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Common Name(s): Guanacaste, Parota

Scientific Name: Enterolobium cyclocarpum

Distribution: Primarily Central America, as well as Mexico and northern South America

Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 5-8 ft (1.5-2.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 27 lbs/ft3 (440 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .34, .44

Janka Hardness: 470 lbf (2,100 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 8,640 lbf/in2 (59.6 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,226,000 lbf/in2 (8.46 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 5,390 lbf/in2 (37.2 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 2.2%, Tangential: 4.9%, Volumetric: 7.1%, T/R Ratio: 2.2

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is light to medium brown, sometimes with a reddish hue. Darker streaks of brown are sometimes present. Sapwood is pale yellow and is clearly demarcated from the heartwood.

Grain/Texture: Grain usually slightly interlocked. Very coarse texture. Moderate natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples; very large pores in no specific arrangement, very few; mineral/gum deposits occasionally present; parenchyma vasicentric, confluent; narrow to medium rays, spacing wide.

Rot Resistance: Rated as durable to very durable; mixed insect resistance.

Workability: Easy to work with hand and machine tools. However, tearout is common during planing, and fuzzy surfaces may be seen after machining, especially on quartersawn surfaces. Glues and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Guanacaste has been reported to cause eye and respiratory irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Because of the large trunk size, very large slabs of natural-edged Guanacaste are not uncommon (and their weight is generally much lighter than other imported hardwoods). Boards and other sawn lumber is also occasionally available. Prices should be moderate for an imported hardwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Furniture frames, table slabs, boatbuilding, millwork, and turned objects.

Comments: Guanacaste has a unique appearance and texture, which is mostly due to its very large pores, which give it a somewhat coarse-textured, almost fibrous look.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

None available.

Scans/Pictures:

Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)

Guanacaste (sanded)

Guanacaste (sealed)

Guanacaste (sealed)

Guanacaste (endgrain)

Guanacaste (endgrain)

Guanacaste (endgrain 10x)

Guanacaste (endgrain 10x)

7 Comments

  1. David January 5, 2018 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    In El Salvador used for furniture, doors, beds, shelves. Known as “conacaste”, a word from the local Nahuat language meaning “ear tree” because of the shape of its seed pods (interesting to read about similar usage in Hawaii). As everyone else observes, its sawdust is very irritating to the lungs and eyes. One way to banish bats from a building is to ignite conacaste shavings (sprinkled with a bit of water) in a pan and let them smolder in the building.

  2. Casey Marriott February 16, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Parota’s two-tone colouring makes beautiful wooden furniture, which we came across a lot of in Mexico in very large sizes. We’re now working solely with parota wood at http://www.parotas.com, and the natural lustre really shows up well just by sealing it with oils.

    • Patrick Atanasije Pineda December 11, 2017 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      I just bought a large slab 3.50m x 1.10 going to make a 12 person dining table, any tips or suggestions. How does this wood finish with oil vs polyurethene ?

  3. Isak Ziegner November 24, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    We call it “sneeze wood” in Hawaii. Really rough on the lungs. THis wood is really beautiful and can be a look alike for big island koa with its red coloration. Very similar to monkey pod but with the red hue added. It is rather soft and a lot lighter than most other slabs. Goes by “Parota” with most US retailers. Called Ear pod sometimes in Hawaii due to some seriously strange ear shaped seed pods.

  4. Louis Pereira June 3, 2015 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    This is very true. I just finished a high top table with this. Turned out great but during the sanding and planning of this wood I had to keep a dust mask on even with a vacumm connected to the equipment.

  5. Matthew September 25, 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    “No characteristic odor,” huh? The sawdust from this stuff is like cayenne powder. If you’ve got a dustmask on and get just a bit in your nose, you’ll be sneezing the rest of the day.

  6. Andrea Arzensek August 16, 2014 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    that is one beautiful wood!

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