Macacauba (Platymiscium spp.)

Macacauba (Platymiscium spp.)

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Common Name(s): Macacauba, Macawood, Hormigo, Orange Agate

Scientific Name: Platymiscium spp.
(P. dimorphandrum, P. pinnatum, P. trinitatis, P. ulei)

Distribution: Central and South America

Tree Size: 65-80 ft (20-25 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 59 lbs/ft3 (950 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .81, .95

Janka Hardness: 2,700 lbf (12,030 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 21,540 lbf/in2 (148.6 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,837,000 lbf/in2 (19.56 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 11,700 lbf/in2 (80.7 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 2.8%, Tangential: 4.2%, Volumetric: 7.2%, T/R Ratio: 1.5

Color/Appearance: Heartwood color can be highly variable, ranging from a bright red to a darker reddish or purplish brown, frequently with darker stripes. When the wood is referred to as “Hormigo,” various suffixes are used to describe the heartwood color: “Hormigo Negro” for darker pieces or “Hormigo Rojo” for orangish red pieces. Clearly demarcated sapwood is yellow to white.

Grain/Texture: Grain is straight to interlocked, with a medium to fine texture. High natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; large pores in no specific arrangement; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; heartwood mineral/gum deposits (yellow) occasionally present; growth rings indistinct; narrow rays not visible without lens, fairly close to close spacing; parenchyma lozenge, confluent, and banded (not marginal).

Rot Resistance: Heartwood is rated as durable to very durable regarding decay resistance, with good resistance to insect attacks as well.

Workability: Overall, good working characteristics for both hand and machine tools, though areas of interlocked grain should be approached with care to avoid tearout. Able to take a very high natural polish. Turns and glues well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Macacauba. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Commonly imported under a variety of common names, and in a number of forms (lumber, turning blanks, flooring, etc.). Expect prices to be moderate for an imported exotic hardwood.

Sustainability: Macacauba is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, although a single Costa Rican species, Platymiscium pleiostachyum, is listed as endangered. The species is estimated to have less than 2,500 mature individuals still living, and the population is estimated to continue to decline at least 20% over the next two generations. This species has been exploited for lumber in the past, but there’s no indication that it’s been exported internationally.

Common Uses: Furniture, cabinetry, veneer, musical instruments, turned objects, and small specialty wood items.

Comments: This wood goes by a number of common names, with none of them having a clear predominance. Macacauba or Macawood is usually used when referring to the lumber, while Hormigo is more commonly used for specialty applications such as turning or musical instruments. Orange Agate has also been used as a trade name to help sell the wood. The ambiguous name Granadillo is also sometimes applied to this wood (along with dozens of other species).

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures:

Macacauba (Platymiscium spp.)

Macacauba (sanded)

Macacauba (sealed)

Macacauba (sealed)

Macacauba (endgrain)

Macacauba (endgrain)

Macacauba (endgrain 10x)

Macacauba (endgrain 10x)

Hormigo Negro (sealed)

Hormigo Negro (sealed)

Macacauba (turned)

Macacauba (turned)

  • Michael Madden

    Most of the Macacauba I have seen has a more redish to orange coloring, the sapwood can be almost white. The grain patterns at time can be a very dark almost black at times, the photos displayed look more like Ipe than Macacauba which is also referred to as Monkey Wood in the Amazon Basin.

  • Michael,
    I updated the primary pictures with scans from a lighter, more reddish orange sample to better approximate the color of the wood.

  • Roy

    I made two canes out of Granadillo. Polyurethane sprayed, or brushed, will not dry.

  • Mark

    Smells like gardenia flowers when turning to me…

  • Guido Masoero

    Piatti in macacauba fatti a Torino Italy

    • Marylin Silva

      NICE! AUGURI!

  • Panatrees Inc

    Hello. We ship Macacauba/ Granadillo (Platymiscium spp) by round logs and squared logs from Panama

  • James Wiltsey

    What is the tone like on guitars…is it Rosewood…is it close to Brazilian Rosewood….?

    • jeff mancuso

      Gibson is using it for fret boards on the 2018 explorer

  • Miguel Urrut

    Marimba keys are made of Platymiscium dimorphandrum, But i didn’t know what to call it. should make a great tone wood for guitars.