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Useful Tropical Plants

Dalbergia stevensonii

Standl.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Honduras Rosewood

Dalbergia stevensonii
Sample of the wood
Photograph by: mauroguanandi
Creative Commons License

General Information

Honduras rosewood is a medium-sized tree growing from 15 - 30 metres tall, often forking at a height of 6 - 8 metres[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. The bole is fluted and can be 90cm in diameter[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
].
One of the best known and most beautiful timbers of Belize, it is widely harvested from the wild. It has been exported in small quantities for more than 100 years[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/

Range

Central America - Belize.

Habitat

Rainforests, mainly along the rivers, though also occurring in their inter-riverain and drier areas[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
].

Properties

Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitTree
Height20.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
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[].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The heartwood is pinkish brown to purple with irregular black markings or zones, which are independent of the growth rings - these alternate dark and light bands give the wood an unusual and very attractively figured appearance[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. The heartwood is sharply demarcated from the 25 - 50mm wide sapwood, which is white marked with yellow vessel lines when first cut, but turning yellow rather quickly afterwards[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. The texture is medium; the grain straight to slightly roey; lustre is low to medium; the wood has no distinctive taste, but fresh heartwood has a rose-like odour which generally dissipates with age. It is this vanishing rose-like odour that is responsible for the name rosewood, not the presence of rose-like flowers as is commonly supposed[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. The wood is very hard and heavy; the heartwood is highly durable in contact with the soil, although the sapwood soon decays[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. Hardness makes this timber somewhat difficult to work - it is moderately difficult to saw and machine; it dulls cutting edges more readily than many other woods; ii planes well but must be held securely during planing to prevent vibration; it makes excellent turnings and finishes well, except, for some trouble with very oily specimens, but does not take a high natural polish[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
].
Because of its unusual beauty and excellent, technical properties, Honduras rosewood is highly regarded for a number of specialized uses Manufacturers of musical instruments use the wood for finger boards for banjos, mandolins, and guitars, and for percussion bars in xylophones and other similar instruments. Well-figured wood is used also in guitar bodies, mandolin ribs, harp bodies, piano legs, piano pilasters, veneered piano cases, and organ stops. Some of the best figured wood is made into veneer for furniture, cabinets, carpet sweepers, billiard and pool tables, and bank and store fixtures. Darker and more highly figured wood is often used in brush backs, jewellery trays, and jewellery cases. Rosewood is employed in the manufacture of high-grade carpenter tools, and in other items like canes, moldings, picture frames, and novelties, and is used to some extent for molding, trim and other interior work in boats and shipbuilding. The rosewood from Brazil is used extensively for the handles of knives and small tools. Honduras
rosewood should be equally suitable for this use[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
].

Propagation

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[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

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