Common Name: Partridgewood
Vouacapoua americana is a slender, semideciduous tree with a roundish crown; it can grow 15 - 35 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole is unbuttressed, but has some very characteristic furrows; it can be unbranched for 15 - 22 metres and 50 - 90cm in diameter[
A very important and attractive timber, the tree is commonly harvested from the wild for local use and for export. The tree also has local medicinal uses.
A plant of denser areas in primary forests, not found in secondary formations or open places, it is declining in the wild due to overexploitation as a timber tree. It is classified as 'Critically Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(1998)[
Northern S. America - northern Brazil, Surinam, French Guinea
Primary rainforests, mainly in areas that are not seasonally inundated[
]. Found especially on forested slopes[
|Conservation Status||Critically Endangered
|Other Uses Rating||
A plant of low elevations in the moist tropics.
Succeeds in full sun to dappled shade[
]. Found in the wild mainly on moist, clay soils[
Newly planted young trees grow away quite quickly and can reach 2 metres or more within 2 years[
Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[
A decoction of the wood is used as a wash for body aches caused by overwork[
A decoction of the bark is drunk to treat malaria[
A decoction of the leaves is used as a wash for fevers[
The heartwood is dark olive to dark chocolate; it is clearly demarcated from the 18 - 30mm wide, cream-coloured sapwood. Numerous fine lines of parenchyma, which are initially lighter brown in colour but which eventually turn nearly black, make the wood unusually attractive. The texture is uniformly coarse; the grain straight to slightly roey; the lustre low; no distinctive odour or taste is present in seasoned wood. The wood is hard, heavy, dense and very durable in contact with the soil, being highly resistant to decay and insect attack. There are conflicting reports regarding its resistance to toredo attack in sea water, though it is generally considered fairly resistant. It is somewhat slow to season, with only a slight risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. It has a fairly high blunting effect, so stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; despite its high density, however, the wood is only moderately difficult to work and is generally said to have good working qualities; smooth surfaces are obtained in sawing and planing, but the coarse grain causes some rough and torn grain in boring and mortising; nailing and screwing are good so long as holes are pre-bored; gluing is correct for interior purposes only. The wood is used for making high class furniture, cabinet making, turnery, flooring, wheelwright's work, beams, general construction, joinery, panelling, railway crossties, posts, rising and gunwales of boats, and general construction[
Seed - it normally germinates within 1 - 2 weeks of falling from the tree so needs to be sown as soon as it is harvested. Sow the seed in individual containers in a semi-shaded position, A germination rate in excess of 80% can be expected within 1 - 2 weeks[
]. Plants should be ready to plant into their permanent positions 4 - 5 months later[
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