Gelseminum avellanedae (Lorentz ex Grisebach) Kuntze
Handroanthus avellanedae (Lorentz ex Griseback) Mattos
Tabebuia avellanedae Lorentz ex. Griseb.
Tabebuia dugandii Standl.
Tabebuia impetiginosa (Mart. ex DC.) Standl.
Tabebuia nicaraguensis Blake
Tabebuia palmeri Rose
Tecoma adenophylla K.Schum. ex. Bureau & K.Schum.
Tecoma impetiginosa Mart. ex DC.
Tecoma integrum (Sprague) Chodat
Common Name: Pau D'Arco
Photograph by: Leandro Kibisz
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
Pau D'Arco is a deciduous tree that grows 8 - 12 metres tall in open areas but more like 20 - 35 metres in dense forests[
]. The straight bole can be 60 - 80cm in diameter[
Known collectively as 'ipe', many members of this genus, including pau d'arco, have long been used medicinally by the local peoples of S. America and are also very popular in modern herbalism[
]. The tree also has a very valuable timber. With its impressive flowering display, the tree is often cultivated as an ornamental plant in tropical areas[
The tree has been exploited for its wood, notably in Brazil, at such a level as to cause significant population declines. It has been classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010)[
Excessive use of the herb can lead to nausea, vomiting, dizziness and diarrhoea[
S. America - from Argentina north through Central America to Mexico.
Interior of dense, primary forests, as well as in open and secondary growth areas[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A species of higher elevations in the tropics, it is well-suited to subtropical areas[
Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a position in full sun[
Young plants establish well, achieving heights of around 3.5 metres within 2 years[
A tea made from the inner bark is widely used as a tonic[
The wood and inner bark are a bitter, cooling, pungent herb that lowers fever and reduces inflammation[
]. The heartwood contains a naphthaquinone called lapachol - this has been shown to have antibiotic and antitumor effects[
Many native S. American peoples have prized pau d'arco as a cure-all, using it to treat a wide range of conditions including wounds, fevers, dysentery, intestinal inflammation and snake bites[
In modern herbalism the bark is used internally in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, chronic degenerative diseases, cancers, tumours, cysts, fungal infections (especially candidiasis), venereal diseases, rheumatic diseases, skin problems (especially eczema, herpes and scabies)[
]. It is also used, in combination with other herbs, to clear toxins, resolve congestion and strengthen the immune system[
The wood is harvested as required and dried for later use[
The heartwood is greenish to yellowish-brown; the sapwood is yellowish. The texture is medium; the grain interlocked; lustre is medium. The wood is very heavy, durable, especially when not in contact with the soil. It can be very hard to cut, but works well and gives a good finish. The timber, known as lapacho, is highly valued for cabinet making. It is also used for railway ties, telegraph poles, interior finishes, parquet flooring, sports items such as wooded balls, musical instruments etc[
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 ripe in a nursery seedbed or individual containers[
]. The germination rate is usually high, occurring in 10 - 12 days. Seedlings grow away quickly and are usually ready to plant out in less than 4 months[
Cuttings of half ripe wood.