Centrolobium robustum microchaete Mart. ex Benth.
Cultivated tree in the Parque Ceret, São Paulo, Brazil
Photograph by: mauroguanandi
Centrolobium microchaete is a semideciduous tree with a small, roundish crown; it can grow 10 - 30 metres tall. The bole can be 40 - 80cm in diameter with prominent buttresses[
The tree yields a good quality timber that is widely harvested from the wild for local use and for export. It blooms exuberantly, giving it a potential for use in landscaping, especially for street plantings along wide avenues[
S. America - eastern Brazil, Bolivia.
Atlantic rainforest, favouring gentle slopes where the drainage is good and the soils are fertile[
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Succeeds in full sun to moderate shade[
]. Prefers a well-drained, fertile soil[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
Young plants have a fast rate of growth[
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[
The heartwood is a red-orange, though it varies in its colour; the sapwood is yellowish. The texture is fine to medium; the grain straight to irregular; lustre is medium to bright; there is a peculiar aroma but no distinctive taste. The wood is heavy, hard, with moderate mechanical properties and very durable, especially if kept dry. It is used for making fine furniture; laminate sheets for decorative panels; lathe work; flooring blocks; railway sleepers; and is also used for fence posts, especially in marshy areas[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed or in individual containers. A high germination rate can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 30 - 40 days[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
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