Common Name(s): Peruvian Walnut, Tropical Walnut, Nogal
Scientific Name: Juglans spp. (Juglans australis, J. neotropica, J. olanchana, etc.)
Distribution: Southern Mexico, Central and South America
Tree Size: 30-60 ft (9-18 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 38 lbs/ft3 (600 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .50, .60
Janka Hardness: 960 lbf (4,250 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 11,160 lbf/in2 (77.0 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,132,000 lbf/in2 (7.81 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 6,550 lbf/in2 (45.2 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 3.6%, Tangential: 7.5%, Volumetric: 11.4%, T/R Ratio: 2.1
Color/Appearance: Heartwood tends to be darker than temperate walnut species, with a deep chocolate brown color, sometimes with a purplish hue. May also contain streaks of lighter-colored wood mixed throughout the heartwood, which can sometimes be extensive and result in a high degree of waste. Grain figuring such as curl seems to be much less common than other walnut species.
Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight, but can be irregular. Has a medium to coarse texture and good natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; large to very large pores, few; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; tyloses commonly present; growth rings distinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma banded.
Rot Resistance: Peruvian Walnut is rated as moderately durable in terms of decay resistance, though it is susceptible to insect attack.
Workability: Typically easy to work provided the grain is straight and regular. Planer tearout can sometimes be a problem when surfacing pieces with irregular or figured grain. Glues, stains, and finishes well.
Allergies/Toxicity: Other species in the Juglans genus (such as Black, and English Walnut) have been reported as sensitizers, and Peruvian Walnut is likely to generate similar allergic reactions. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Peruvian Walnut is more expensive than domestic species of Walnut, though it still tends to be moderately priced for an imported lumber. Expect prices to be similar to other mid-range South American imports.
Sustainability: Peruvian Walnut is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but a number of tropical species in the Juglans genus are on the IUCN Red List. The most notable species, Juglans neotropica, is listed as endangered due to a population reduction of over 50% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.
Common Uses: Furniture, cabinetry, veneers, flooring, musical instruments, and interior trim.
Comments: Perhaps the most fitting name would be Tropical Walnut, yet the term Peruvian Walnut is commonly used among hardwood dealers, even though the Walnut may not always technically come from Peru. The name Nogal is also used on occasion, and is the Spanish word for Walnut.
- Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
- Butternut (Juglans cinerea)
- Claro Walnut (Juglans hindsii)
- English Walnut (Juglans regia)
Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Randy Johnson for pointing out the streaks of discoloration that can be found in the wood, and also for contributing a photo of the streaking and a finished product of the wood.