Common Name(s): Louro Preto, Laurel Negro
Scientific Name: Cordia spp. (C. megalantha, C. glabrata)
Distribution: Tropical Americas, southward to Brazil
Tree Size: 50-65 ft (15-20 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 52.7 lbs/ft3 (845 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .74, .84
Janka Hardness: 2,200 lbf (9,790 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 17,610 lbf/in2 (121.5 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,580,000 lbf/in2 (10.90 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 9,270 lbf/in2 (63.9 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.0%, Tangential: 7.4%, Volumetric: 11.6%, T/R Ratio: 1.9
Color/Appearance: Heartwood medium brown with a reddish cast (or sometimes olive-colored cast). Darker brown streaks common. Sharply demarcated from the pale sapwood. Color darkens with age.
Grain/Texture: Grain can be straight or irregular. Fine to medium texture and good natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples; medium to large pores in no specific arrangement, few; tyloses and other mineral deposits (yellow/brown) common; parenchyma varies slightly between species, but is generally banded (marginal), as well as vasicentric, aliform (lozenge), and confluent; medium to wide rays, spacing normal to wide.
Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable.
Workability: Some species may contain silica that will dull cutters. On the whole, Louro Preto is easily worked and machined with good results. Although it has a fairly high amount of natural oils present, gluing is usually problem-free. (See the article on gluing oily tropical hardwoods for more information.) Turns and finishes well.
Odor: Can have a pleasant, characteristic scent.
Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Louro Preto, however, it is very closely related to Bocote, which has been shown to cause cross reactions once an allergic sensitivity to certain woods has been developed. Woods that can cause initial sensitivity include: Pau Ferro, Macassar Ebony, Cocobolo, and most Rosewoods. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Prices are likely to be high 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: Furniture, cabinetry, veneer, and turned objects.
Comments: A very close relative of Bocote in both anatomy and appearance, Louro Preto doesn’t always have the stunning grain patterns that are commonplace in Bocote.