Tabebuia billbergii (Bureau & K.Schum.) Standl.
Tabebuia ecuadorensis Standl.
Tecoma billbergii Bureau & K.Schum.
Handroanthus billbergii is a deciduous shrub or a tree that can grow from 3 - 12 metres tall[
This species is one of the most important timber trees in Ecuador, where it is commonly harvested from the wild for local use[
S. America - Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela; Caribbean - Netherland Antilles, Aruba, Cuba.
Dry rocky chaparrel at elevations up to 500 metres in Venezuela[
]. Dry coastal forests, thickets[
|Other Uses Rating
The tree is the national tree of Venezuela[
The wood is very hard, heavy and very durable. It is widely used as timber within its native range. Traditionally, it is used for making items such as corn grinders[
We have no more specific information on the wood of this plant, but 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[
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