Tulipwood (Dalbergia decipularis)

Tulipwood (Dalbergia decipularis)

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Common Name(s): Tulipwood

Scientific Name: Dalbergia decipularis (also Dalbergia frutescens)

Distribution: Northeastern Brazil

Tree Size: 20-30 ft (6-9 m) tall, less than 1 ft (.3 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 60 lbs/ft3 (970 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .88, .97

Janka Hardness: 2,500 lbf (11,120 N)

Modulus of Rupture: No data available

Elastic Modulus: No data available

Crushing Strength: No data available

Shrinkage: Reported to be stable in use, with shrinkage rates likely similar to other rosewoods.

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is streaked with yellows, reds, oranges, and pinks. Color and figure can be highly variegated.

Grain/Texture: Pores are open and medium-sized. Grain is usually straight, with a fine texture.

Endgrain: Semi-ring-porous or ring-porous; very large earlywood pores grading down to medium latewood pores, sometimes arranged radially, very few to few; solitary and in radial multiples of 2-3; yellow and reddish heartwood deposits present; narrow rays not visible without lens, spacing fairly close; parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, vasicentric, unilateral, winged, and banded (marginal).

Rot Resistance: Reported as having a low decay resistance, although it is resistant to insect attack.

Workability: Tends to be difficult to work due to its high density; also has a blunting effect on cutters. Can be difficult to glue do to an abundance of natural oils and high density. Turns very well and takes a high polish.

Odor: Has a mild, fragrant odor when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, rosewood in the Dalbergia genus, (such as Tulipwood), has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Likely to be very expensive, and seldom available as boards. Tulipwood is most often seen as smaller turning stock, with its cost being on par with other scarce exotics in the Dalbergia genus.

Sustainability: Although Brazilian Tulipwood is not evaluated on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it is listed on CITES appendix II under the genus-wide restriction on all Dalbergia species—which also includes finished products made of the wood. 

Common Uses: Veneer, fine furniture, inlay, marquetry, musical instruments (percussion), and small turned objects.

Comments: Not to be confused with American Tulipwood, (more commonly referred to as Tulip Poplar or Yellow Poplar), Brazilian Tulipwood is considered a true rosewood in the Dalbergia genus.

Tulipwood is a stunningly beautiful hardwood which is in short supply. The tree itself is only found in a narrow geographical area, and it’s small enough to be considered a shrub: typically yielding very small and narrow boards. Because of these limitations, Tulipwood is generally reserved for very small specialty wood items and accent pieces.

Related Species:

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the turned photo of this wood species.

Tulipwood (sanded)

Tulipwood (sanded)

Tulipwood (sealed)

Tulipwood (sealed)

Tulipwood (endgrain)

Tulipwood (endgrain)

Tulipwood (endgrain 10x)

Tulipwood (endgrain 10x)

Tulipwood (turned)

Tulipwood (turned)



  1. toan duong January 11, 2019 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    1 more

  2. toan duong January 11, 2019 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    more pic

  3. toan duong December 2, 2018 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    last pic

  4. toan duong December 2, 2018 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    next pic, i could only upload 1 each time

  5. toan duong December 2, 2018 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    i think this is tulipwood (the peradon gloucester is tulipwood) so can any one confirm. first photo is the gloucester the next 2 are my cue

  6. Bhuth JOLOKIA August 12, 2018 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Dalbergia Decipulares, only’s 4 references all registered for over 20 years, would be a very high risk trying to find

  7. Guido Masoero January 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Ciotola in palissandro rosa fatta in Italia

  8. grace mizzi December 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    does tulip wood shrink much?

    • ejmeier December 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      I’ve never found exact shrinkage numbers, but it’s reported to be stable i service, so like other rosewoods, it probably has low shrinkage.

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