Tabebuia alba (Cham.) Sandwith
Tecoma alba Cham.
Handroanthus albus is a deciduous tree growing 20 - 30 metres tall. The usually straight bole can be 40 - 60cm in diameter[
Producing a good quality wood, the tree is often harvested from the wild and is also used locally as a food and medicine. The tree is also often grown as an ornamental, valued especially for its exuberant flowering and the attractive silvery foliage of the young growth[
The sawdust can cause skin problems in woodworkers[
S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, all areas of Brazil.
The undercanopy of Araucaria forests and in semideciduous forests at higher elevations, the tree can also be found in more open situations and in secondary forest[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Grows best in a sunny position[
]. Prefers a deep, fertile, moist but well-drained soil[
Young plants grow away quickly, reaching a height of around 3.5 metres within 2 years[
Flowers - raw[
]. Eaten when fully open and rich in nectar[
The leaves are astringent. They are used and in the treatment of inflammations of the nasal passages and the throat[
An infusion of the inner bark is used as a diuretic[
The wood is heavy, hard, compact, of high durability even under unfavourable circumstances. A good quality wood, it is suitable for outdoor work such as railway sleepers, bridges, fencing posts, girders, axles, wooden mills, parquet flooring, floorboards, barrels, gear teeth, general carpentry and cabinet making[
Most species of Handroanthus, almost certainly including this one, produce a very hard, heavy and durable timber known as Ipe. The general description of Ipe wood is as follows:-
The heartwood is yellowish brown to dark olive brown, sometimes with thin veins; it is clearly demarcated from the 3 - 9cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is usually fine, though it is medium in some species; the grain is interlocked; there are canals in the wood containing a greenish-yellow deposit of lapachol. The wood is very heavy; very hard; elastic; it is very durable, even in contact with the soil, resisting fungi, dry wood borers and termites. It seasons slowly, but with only a low risk of checking or distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. The wood has a fairly high blunting effect - stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; there can be some difficulties due to the interlocked grain; filling is recommended in order to get a good finish; nailing and screwing are good , but require pre-boring; gluing is correct for internal use only, and needs to be done with care because the wood is so dense. A very durable and strong wood, it has a very wide range of uses, especially for outdoor applications. It is used for making high class furniture, cabinet work, heavy construction, railway sleepers, bridges, hydraulic works, industrial flooring, posts and poles, turnery, musical instruments, tool handles, veneer etc[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed or in individual containers. A germination rate in excess of 80% can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 5 - 10 days[
]. When the seedbed-sown seedlings are 4 - 6cm tall, pot them up into individual containers and they should be ready to plant out around 6 months later[
The seed has a viability of less than 4 months in storage[
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