The species name is sometimes spelt Chlorocardium rodiaei[
Nectandra rodioei R.H.Schomb.
Ocotea rodiei (R.H.Schomb.) Mez
Common Name: Greenheart
Greenheart is an evergreen tree with a conical or oval, or sometimes irregularly open, small, heavy crown[
]. It usually grows up to 30 metres tall, though exceptional specimens can reach 40 metres[
]. The cylindrical bole, which is basally swollen or with low buttresses, is commonly 40 - 60cm in diameter, with exceptional specimens to 100cm[
]. It can be straight, and clear for 15 - 22 metres with only moderate taper[
The tree is highly valued commercially, yielding an excellent timber with many uses, but especially valued for its resistance to decay in salt water and in the ground. It is commonly harvested from the wild for local use and for export[
There is some uncertainty regarding the conservation status of this species. It was classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List in 1998, but this was altered to 'Data Deficient' in 2006. It is clear that a large proportion of trees have been logged and that the tree is slow to regenerate, but it is unclear whether extraction rates are unsustainable since there are believed to be large areas of unexploited forest where the tree still grows[
S. America - French Guiana, Surinam, Guyana.
A dominant component of a restricted belt of lowland rainforest on brown sand and is also found occasionally in other forest types[
]. Found mostly on slopes leading down to streams and in
damp sites near streams[
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A tree of lowland moist tropical areas, usually found at elevations below 200 metres.
Grows best in light, sandy soils[
The bark and crushed wood are bitter, febrifuge and tonic[
]. A decoction is used to treat fevers and diarrhoea[
]. The decoction is yellow, nauseatingly bitter and has a sickly odour[
The fruit is sometimes used instead of the bark or wood[
A decoction of the seeds is used to treat diarrhoea[
The stem-bark contains the alkaloid berberine, which is identical to buxine and pelosine, and also the alkaloid
The seeds contain berberic acid[
The heartwood varies from light to dark olive green or blackish, often with intermingling of lighter and darker areas; it is not sharply defined from the 3 - 8cm thick, pale yellow or greenish sapwood[
]. The wood is straight grained to roey; fine in texture; uniform; lustrous; cold to the touch; freshly cut wood is strongly aromatic but becomes odourless and tasteless when dry[
]. The wood is exceedingly heavy (sinking in water); very strong; exceptionally hard; very elastic; tough; dense; very durable and resistant to termites and marine borers[
]. The wood is flexible in narrow strips and has a high coefficient of friction that gives it a nonslip tractive property when wet or even when coated with a film of oil or grease[
]. It is easy to split and polish[
]. The wood is moderately difficult to work with either hand or machine tools because of its exceedingly high density and hardness. It dulls cutting edges rather quickly but finishes to a fine smooth lustrous surface. If cutting edges become dull, there is a tendency for surfaces to become slightly roughened. Because of the low cleavage resistance of the wood, cross-grained or end-grain material must be machined carefully to avoid the breaking-off of chips and splinters at the exit of the tool. The timber turns easily and takes a high finish with wax, oil, or French polish without the need of a filler. Gluing gives fairly good results. It is a moderately good bending wood but does not take nails well, requiring prebored holes to avoid splitting and nail bending[
]. The most important use is in marine and ship construction, being used for revetments, docks, locks, fenders, braces, decking, groins, gates, piers, piling, jetties, and wharves; and in ship construction, for keelsons, beams, engine bearers, planking, gangways, fenders, stern posts, and sheathing for whaling ships. It is also used for heavy construction, walking sticks, billiard cue butts, belaying pins, mortars etc[
Many of the standing mature trees are defective. There is more defectiveness on rocky sites where the tree is not as well adapted as on the moist sites. On the average, 80 - 85% of all trees have some defect, particularly in the butt portion[
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