Dalbergia baronii is a deciduous, medium-sized tree that can grow up to 25, occasionally 30 metres tall[
]. The bole is usually short, and branchless for up to 6, occasionally to 20 metres[
The high-quality wood is traded on the international market, usually in small amounts and at high prices, for special applications such as musical instruments[
Although fairly widely distributed in lowland rainforest along the east coast of Madagascar, its habitat has been much reduced. Moreover, it is selectively felled and large trees have become rare. It is included in the IUCN Red list of threatened species, in which it is classified as 'Vulnerable'[
Africa - eastern Madagascar.
Lowland, evergreen, humid, rainforest, sea-level to 150, occ. 600 metres. Often by watercourses, also in swamp forest and the land margin of mangroves. Usually on sandy soils, sometimes saline, rarely on ferrallitic soils at higher altitudes[
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A plant of the humid tropical lowlands.
We have no specific information on this species, but members of this genus generally prefer a fertile, loam soil and a position in full sun[
The tree is overexploited, and will soon disappear from the timber market as stands have largely been depleted. Protection of remaining stands is badly needed, and Dalbergia baronii will only have a role as commercial timber in the future if plantations become successful, or if the timber is sustainably harvested from natural forest[
]. This will probably allow only very low yield levels because trees presumably grow slowly[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The heartwood is greyish yellow-brown to reddish brown or dark brown, often with darker stripes; it is distinctly demarcated from the sapwood[
]. The wood is moderately heavy to heavy; the grain is generally straight; texture fine and even[
]. Fresh wood has a sweetish smell[
]. Once dry, the wood is very stable in service[
]. The wood works well, both with hand tools and machine tools; it finishes well, taking a beautiful polish; the nailing properties are moderate and pre-boring is needed; finishing with oil-based paint gives moderate results; the gluing properties are variable. The wood is suitable for sliced veneer. It is moderately durable, and resistant to termites. The heartwood is very resistant to treatment with preservatives[
]. A valuable timber, it is one of the so-called rosewoods which are much in demand for cabinet making, furniture, marquetry and parquet flooring[
]. It is one of the favoured woods for musical instruments, especially guitars, not only because of its beautiful colour and venation, but also because of its clearness of tone. It is also suitable for shingles, exterior and interior trim, joinery, carpentry and framing, ship and boat building, vehicle bodies, precision equipment, carvings, toys and novelties, turnery, pattern making, veneer and plywood. It is used for carving traditional art[
]. In the past the wood was used exclusively for the construction of houses for royal people[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
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