Bowdichia brasiliensis (Tul.) Ducke
Bowdichia guianensis (Tul.) Ducke
Dibrachion guianense Tul.
Diplotropis guianensis Benth.
Tachigali purpurea Rich
Common Name: Tatabu
Tatabu is an evergreen tree with a roundish, sparse crown; it can grow 10 - 30 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole is unbuttressed; it can be unbranched for up to 20 metres and usually 40 - 60cm in diameter, though specimens up to 100cm have been found[
Tatabu is one of the strongest and most beautiful woods growing in the tropical forests of the Western Hemisphere and, despite being somewhat difficult to work, may eventually become one of the more popular export timbers[
]. It is harvested from the wild for local use and for export.
S. America - northern Brazil, the Guyanas.
Upland areas in rainforests and seasonal forests[
]. Found mainly in primary forests in areas not subject to seasonal inundation, growing on slopes and well-drained soils of medium texture[
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Succeeds in full sun to dappled shade[
]. Prefers a well-drained soil[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
Newly planted young trees usually grow away moderately quickly[
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[
Freshly cut heartwood is generally chocolate brown, turning to a lighter brown when dry, and may occasionally be greyish brown or brown, often with dark gold-coloured stripes or narrow stripes of a lighter brown; it is clearly demarcated from the narrow band of greyish or pinkish gray sapwood[
]. The grain is straight to slightly interlocked or sometimes slightly wavy; the texture is coarse to very coarse; the lustre is high and golden in the proper light, often with a waxy appearance; no distinctive odour or taste is present[
]. The wood is very hard, heavy, tough, strong and generally considered to be moderately resistant to decay, although tests at Yale University indicate the wood is very durable in resistance to both white-rot and brown-rot fungus[
]. The wood is moderately difficult to work; it saws rather easily, but is somewhat difficult to plane because of its frequently roey grain, which when present requires considerable sanding; it turns well; has high screw-holding power; and takes wax or polish satisfactorily if a filler is first applied[
]. It is used for heavy construction, boatbuilding, house framing, flooring, furniture, and turnery. The timber's recognized beauty should promote its extensive use for furniture, cabinetwork, marine construction in non-teredo waters, and other similar uses in the countries of origin and on the export market. Its very good strength properties also suggest its use for tool handles and agricultural tools and vehicles[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a lightly shaded position in a nursery seedbed[
]. Germination rates are usually high, with the seed sprouting within 14 - 21 days[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual containers when they are 4 - 5cm tall and they should be ready to plant out 5 - 6 months later[
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