Curupay (Anadenanthera colubrina)

Common Name(s): Curupay, cebil, Patagonian rosewood

Scientific Name: Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina

Distribution: Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay

Tree Size: 65-80 ft (20-25 m) tall,

                      2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 64 lbs/ft3 (1,025 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): 0.86, 1.03

Janka Hardness: 3,630 lbf (16,150 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 28,010 lbf/in2 (193.2 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,617,000 lbf/in2 (18.04 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 13,700 lbf/in2 (94.4 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 4.6%, Tangential: 7.6%,

                        Volumetric: 12%, T/R Ratio: 1.7

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a pale to medium reddish brown, frequently with darker brown to black streaks throughout. Color tends to darken with age. Sapwood is a pale yellow to pinkish brown.

Grain/Texture: Grain irregular and/or interlocked. Fine uniform texture. Naturally lustrous.

Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable. Resistant to termites, though more susceptible to other insect attacks.

Workability: Generally hard to work with on account of its irregular grain and high density. Cebil also has a pronounced blunting effect on cutters. Turns 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 curupay. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Sometimes available as flooring planks, as well as wide boards and slabs; occasionally offered as turning blanks as well. Prices should be in the mid-range for an imported exotic hardwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.

Common Uses: Flooring, exterior construction, furniture, and turned objects.

Comments: Sometimes sold as cebil by lumber dealers, or by the exaggerated name Patagonian rosewood by flooring dealers. Despite this common name, curupary is not closely related to the true rosewoods in the Dalbergia genus. Curupay is a dense hardwood with a highly variable streaked appearance not too unlike goncalo alves (Astronium graveolens).

Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood. The first sample represents wood with a striped appearance, while the second shows wood with a darker, more uniform color. 

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

Cebil (turned)
Curupay (turned)

Identification: See the article on Hardwood Anatomy for definitions of endgrain features.

Curupay (endgrain 10x)
Curupay (endgrain 1x)

Porosity: diffuse porous

Arrangement: solitary and radial multiples

Vessels: medium to large, few to moderately numerous; reddish brown deposits occasionally present

Parenchyma: vasicentric, lozenge, confluent, and banded (marginal)

Rays: medium to wide; normal to fairly close spacing

Lookalikes/Substitutes: Streaked pieces of curupay bear a remarkable resemblance to goncalo alves (Astronium graveolens)—and both woods are used for hardwood flooring. Curupay tends to have wider, more conspicuous rays, as well as more extensive parenchyma (lozenge, confluent, and marginal).

Notes: There are two primary species yielding curupay, Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina. Although they are mostly indistinguishable on the basis of anatomy, a limited study found that A. colubrina heartwood was UV fluorescent, while A. peregrina was not. 

> Hardwoods > Fabaceae > Anadenanthera > Related Species

The Anadenanthera genus currently contains only two recognized species. Some authors also recognize two varieities of each species, while others treat each variety as its own species, for a total of four species. Regardless, all species can be sold interchangeably under the collective trade name curupay.

Two recognized species:

  • Anadenanthera colubrina
  • Anadenanthera peregrina

As two varieties per species:

As four separate species:

Anadenanthera colubrina var. colubrina

Anadenanthera colubrina

Anadenanthera colubrina var. cebil

Anadenanthera macrocarpa

Anadenanthera peregrina var. peregrina

Anadenanthera peregrina

Anadenanthera peregrina var. falcata

Anadenanthera falcata

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Way back when I grow up in the 60s, there was one tree from Paraguay and Argentina called “Petiribi also Loro” they where using it for furniture and also flooring, can anybody recall that, or perhaps know the real name. Thanks

Luxury Wood Flooring

Curupay (or Curupau, as we call it) is among my personal favourite timbers. It is great choice for wooden flooring for those who are after exotic timber floor. The dark streaks gives an unique character of the wood. It is also among the hardest and most durable wooden flooring options.

Bryan Tyler Nelson

I have hundreds of pictures of turned bowls on my wed site. You’re welcome to use any of them as long as I receive credit for photos used and photos are link to my web site