> Hardwoods > Fabaceae > Apuleia > leiocarpa
Garapa (Apuleia leiocarpa)

Common Name(s): Garapa, grapia

Scientific Name: Apuleia leiocarpa

Distribution: South America

Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall,

                      3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 51 lbs/ft3 (820 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): 0.65, 0.82

Janka Hardness: 1,650 lbf (7,350 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 18,530 lbf/in2 (127.8 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,257,000 lbf/in2 (15.57 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 9,030 lbf/in2 (62.3 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 4.2%, Tangential: 7.5%,

                        Volumetric: 11.4%, T/R Ratio: 1.8

Color/Appearance: Garapa has a golden to yellowish brown color, which darkens with age. Sapwood is also yellowish in color and not clearly distinct from the heartwood. The wood is fairly chatoyant, and appears to shift from dark to light coloring in different lighting angles.

Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight, but can also be interlocked. Uniform medium texture with a moderate amount of natural luster.

Rot Resistance: Rated as durable, though vulnerable to termites and other insect attacks.

Workability: Garapa is fairly easy to work, despite its density. Glues and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

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

Pricing/Availability: Garapa is not commonly available in lumber form, though it is sometimes used for flooring and decking. The price 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: Flooring, decking, dock, and boatbuilding.

Comments: Garapa is one of the few commercial hardwoods available that’s light-colored and also decay-resistant for exterior applications. Nearly all other exterior woods are much darker in color, with the exception of much softer cedar species.

Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood.

A special thanks to Geoffrey Thomas for providing a wood sample of this wood species.

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

Garapa (endgrain 10x)
Garapa (endgrain 1x)

Porosity: diffuse porous

Arrangement: solitary and radial multiples

Vessels: medium to large, moderately numerous; yellowish brown deposits common

Parenchyma: lozenge, winged, confluent, and sometimes extending out into thin bands

Rays: narrow; normal spacing

Lookalikes/Substitutes: None.

Notes: None.

> Hardwoods > Fabaceae > Apuleia > Related Species

The Apuleia genus has been shown to have very unique flower morphology.[1]Zimmerman, E., Prenner, G., & Bruneau, A. (2013). Floral morphology of Apuleia leiocarpa (Dialiinae: Leguminosae), an unusual andromonoecious legume. International Journal of Plant … Continue reading It contains only one species, A. leiocarpa. 

Gene sequencing has show that the next-closest genus is the African Distemonanthus,[2]Bruneau, A., Mercure, M., Lewis, G. P., & Herendeen, P. S. (2008). Phylogenetic patterns and diversification in the caesalpinioid legumes. Botany86(7), 697-718. again containing only one species, movingui (Distemonanthus benthamianus).

Related Content:


1 Zimmerman, E., Prenner, G., & Bruneau, A. (2013). Floral morphology of Apuleia leiocarpa (Dialiinae: Leguminosae), an unusual andromonoecious legume. International Journal of Plant Sciences174(2), 154-160.
2 Bruneau, A., Mercure, M., Lewis, G. P., & Herendeen, P. S. (2008). Phylogenetic patterns and diversification in the caesalpinioid legumes. Botany86(7), 697-718.
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We just used garapa on our new driveway gate. Used Penofin finish in Sable. It came out great!

Frank Grant

Hello from Auckland New Zealand and my compliments on your website which is fascinating,I came here to research a sustainable hardwood decking for a friend. Locally the most popular hardwood decking is Kwila (Merbau) and Vitex (Vitex Cofassus) the later is from the Solomons but I cant find it on your website, it may have another name. Also available in lesser quantities are Garapa, Purple Heart, Fijian Mahogany , Jarrah and Australian Blue Gum aka Salinga. As far as I can tell from researching various sites Bue Gum and Garapa seem the most sustainable although the latter probably incurs more… Read more »

Paolo Pisani

Dear Frank
This is Paolo from Italy.
I visited Borneo some years ago, and in a wildlife park they made extensive use of a vivid dark red colour wood, for external construction. In a local museum one board of such wood was tagged as Merbau. However in my searches through the web I see that Merbau is brown.
Any idea what it could have been?

Frederick Chua

It is called Kwila in NZ

Bill Anderson

That sounds like Kayu Kamper. I lived in Indonesia and it is a standard structuaral wood, straight grain, dense and dark red

Andreas Anwander

Hey there, just browsing through your amazing website I realized that I always wanted to check about theToxicity of Garapa. I live in Brazil where we call this wood Garapeira but I think it is the same. It is durable and has a good price too. If you find a nice piece it can even be stunningly beautiful as the cloour can change from yellow into red in one board. Anyway, I have realized that when ever I work with this wood without a mask (which is stupid anyway) I start feeling very feewerish in the evening. Never had any… Read more »

Patrick Perry

Hello, I’m building an outdoor table for a close friend. This would be the largest effort I’ve undertaken with in terms of furniture to date. I’m confident I can handle the construction, but I’m considering my options for wood species. I want the end result to make a statement, and last for decades to come. I’ve been considering Garape and Ipe as possible options. Teak would be another obvious choice, but it’s become a standard, so it would lack the “statement” I’m looking for. The table will be exposed to the elements and located at a beach house so salt… Read more »

Glenn DeSpain

I am considering using Garapa lumber to rebuild sauna benches. I can not find any information for this particular use. The only concern is heat retention and sitting on the surface. I think it would hold up great compared to ceder. Do you feel this would be a bad choice using Garapa? Any assistance would be helpful.

joshua Fernandes

Glen,, did you end up using Garapa? i am currently considering the same thing, let me know