Some works treat this species as a form or just a synonym of Astronium graveolens. Most of the recent treatments, however, are maintaining it as distinct[
Astronium graveolens brasiliensis Engl.
Common Name: Goncalo Alves
Goncalo alves is a tall, deciduous tree with a pyramid-shaped crown. The straight, cylindrical bole is 40 - 60cm in diameter[
The tree produces a valuable timber - it is commonly harvested from the wild both for local use and for trade. The tree also has local medicinal uses and can be grown as a pioneer species when restoring native woodland.
Northern S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Surinam; Also found in Costa Rica.
]. Primary and secondary forests[
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Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained soil[
]. Established plants are at least somewhat drought tolerant[
Young seedlings establish well and grow away quickly.
The bark is astringent and pectoral. It is recommended in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, including cases with haemoptysis[
A caustic oil obtained from the small nuts is applied topically to remove corns and alleviate toothache[
The tree is a pioneer species in open areas of the forest[
The heartwood varies in colour from very dark to light red[
]. The wood is very heavy, compact, hard to cut, mechanically resistant - especially to flex and shock exertion[
]. It has a high natural durability in soil and water[
]. A highly esteemed timber, it is used for making fine furniture and cabinet work, construction, railway sleepers, fencing posts etc[
The wood is a source of muiracatiara timber. We have no more specific information, but a general description of muiracatiara timber is as follows:-
The heartwood is pinkish-brown to yellow-brown, becoming red-brown to dark brown with very irregularly spaced black-brown veins; it is clearly demarcated from the 4 - 10cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is fine; the grain straight or interlocked. The wood is heavy, hard and very durable, being resistant to fungi, dry wood borers and termites. It seasons normally with little risk of checking or distortion; once dry it is poorly stable in service. It has a fairly high blunting effect upon toold, stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; nailing and screwing are good, but pre-boring is necessary; gluing is poor. The wood has a wide range of applications, being used in cabinet making for high class furniture, for flooring, turnery, interior and exterior joinery, heavy carpentry, tool handles, musical instruments, carving etc[
Seed - it does not require pre-treatment and is best sown as soon as ripe[
]. Sown in a semi-shaded nursery bed, a germination rate of more than 80% can be achieved in 8 - 12 days[
]. Pot up into individual containers when 2 - 4cm tall and plant out when 30cm tall[
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