Abarema racemosa (Ducke) Kleinhoonte
Marmaroxylon racemosum (Ducke) Killip ex Record
Pithecellobium racemosum Ducke
Common Name: Marblewood
A bowl made from the wood
Photograph by: Unknown
Zygia racemosa is a tree growing up to 30 metres tall[
]. The straight, cylindrical bole is unbuttressed but basally swollen. It can be unbranched for up to 18 metres, exceptionally to 24 metres, and 40 - 50cm in diameter, exceptionally to 60cm[
Marblewood is an attractive wood that is highly valued in some areas. It is harvested from the wild for local use and for export.
S. America - Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, the Guyanas.
Rain forests, especially on slopes[
]. Drier sites in the upland rain forests and seasonal forests[
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There are conflicting reports on whether or not this tree has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, so it is unclear as to whether this tree fixes atmospheric nitrogen[
The heartwood is light yellow to orange-brown, overlaid with characteristic large, irregular purplish-brown and occasionally black streaks and patches; it is not clearly demarcated from the 2 - 3cm wide band of yellowish sapwood. The markings on the wood, being darker than the yellowish background, give it a distinctive and unique beauty. The texture is medium to coarse, the grain straight to slightly interlocked, sometimes wavy; the lustre low to medium; no distinctive odour or taste are evident in seasoned wood. The wood is very heavy, very hard; strong; elastic; moderately durable, being moderately resistant to fungi, resistant to termites, but susceptible to dry wood borers. It is somewhat slow to season, with a high risk of checking but only a low risk of distortion; once dry it is poorly stable in service. It is difficult to work with either hand or machine tools because of its high density and blunting effect; stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide cutting tools are recommended; it is reported to finish smoothly and to take an exceptionally fine polish; nailing and screwing are good, but require pre-boring; gluing needs to be done with care because of the density of the wood but is correct for internal use. Although the wood possesses good strength, it appears that, its highest use is for furniture, cabinet making, turning, joinery, marquetry, flooring, and decorative panels, as these uses can best capitalize on the wood’s unique attractiveness. It is also used for heavy and durable construction and for wheelwright work in French Guiana and Brazil, despite the timber’ s moderate strength properties and high value. The wood also seems suitable for cutlery handles, novelties, and for other special uses requiring a hard, heavy wood of unusual appearance[
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