Cariniana brasiliensis Casar.
Couratari legalis Mart.
Cariniana legalis is a semi-deciduous tree with an umbrella-shaped crown; it can grow from 30 - 50 metres tall. The erect, cylindrical bole can be 70 - 100cm in diameter and free of branches for up to 25 metres[
The tree is harvested from the wild, mainly for local use as a medicine and source of timber and fibre. An ornamental tree, it is often used in street plantings etc in Brazil[
Populations frequently occur on fertile land that is cleared for agriculture, and considerable habitat loss has caused declines in the species. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
Dust from the sawn wood may cause dermatitis and breathing problems[
S. America - eastern Brazil.
Atlantic rainforest, where it is mainly found as a canopy tree in dense, primary formations, though it is also found in more open areas[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Succeeds in full sun and also in dappled shade[
The tree has a moderate rate of growth[
The bark is astringent. A decoction is taken internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and as a gargle to treat sore throats[
The heartwood is yellowish, pinkish or reddish-brown in colour, sometimes with darker streaks; it is usually not clearly demarcated from the greyish to pale brown sapwood[
]. Lustre is medium to high; the grain straight; the texture fine to medium. Odour and taste are not distinct. The wood is light in weight, of low resistance to wood-eating organisms when exposed to the weather. It may contain very small amounts of silica. Soft to cut, it works easily with hand and machine tools but has slight blunting effect on cutting edge; in planing, it generally finishes well if sharp cutters are employed; it tends to split when nailed -pre-boring may be required; it glues satisfactorily[
]. The wood is used in internal general construction, making furniture, toys, shoe heels, pencils, broom handles etc[
The following report is for the related Couratari tauari. It almost certainly also applies to this species[
The inner bark is extracted in thin layers, appearing somewhat like paper, and in this form has been used for wrapping cigarettes and cigars[
]. It is also used for cordage, for rough clothing, and bedding by the natives of many South American countries[
The bark is removed from the tree by means of a knife or other sharp instrument. Two cuts are made in the bark of the tree at different heights, surrounding the entire tree, and then another cut is made longitudinal to the first two. This section of the bark is then torn or stripped off the tree, it is pounded and then washed to separate the parenchyma from the fibre, thus obtaining a textile substance[
]. In other cases the bark is loosened by continued blows or beating[
]. The fibre is traditionally used to make clothing, blankets etc. Some of the blankets appear as if made from soft, pliable leather, others look like cotton. It is also used for mats, carpets, and to take the place of paper in wrapping cigarettes[
]. One of the blankets made by beating the bark is described as being 180cm long and 270cm wide[
The women of the tribe of the Churruyes, of Colombia, use the bark in the fashioning of a sort of garment called farquina, which is secured to the shoulders by strands of palm fibre, probably an Astrocaryum. 'The fibre is separated by blows and jerks into sheets, resembling cloth, which, when rubbed, washed, and exposed to the sun and dew, becomes light in colour and flexible.'' The garment is sometimes dyed red. Some of the Indians of Peru and Bolivia make shirts of the fibre; these being dyed in red and other colours[
Seed - best sown in a semi-shaded position when ripe, either in nursery seedbeds or in individual containers. A germination rate in excess of 50% can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 12 - 20 days[
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