Tree growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Arboretto
Vochysia thyrsoidea is an evergreen tree with a wide, irregular crown; it can grow 4 - 11 metres tall. At the higher ;limits of its range it is more likely to be a shrub 2 - 4 metres tall. The bole is normally crooked, around 20 - 40cm in diameter with a thick, corky bark[
A gum obtained from the tree is said to be of better quality than gum arabic (from Acacia spp.). It has been recommended for commercial exploitation from wild trees, but previous attempts have not met with success[
]. The tree also has local medicinal uses and yields a low quality timber.
S. America - central and eastern Brazil.
Savannahs and open savannah woodland[
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A tree of moderate elevations in the tropics where it can be found from 500 - 1,700 metres.
Prefers a sunny position[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
The sap is fermented to make an alcoholic drink[
The gum is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases[
The leaves are pectoral and is used in the treatment of respiratory complaints[
A gum is obtained from the trunk[
]. A yellow or reddish liquid flows abundantly from perforations in the trunk - this solidifies in contact with the air to form sticky lumps[
]. These lumps are slowly, totally soluble in cold water, taking longer to dissolve in warm water, and insoluble in alcohol]461]. They are very flexible and almost impossible to grind to a powder - heating them to 110°c beforehand makes them somewhat easier to grind[
]. The gum comprises mainly arabinose (almost 80%), and it is claimed by some people that it is a superior product to gum arabic (from Acacia spp.)[
A gum of even higher quality is obtained from the flowers, but only in very small quantities[
The wood is moderately heavy, not very durable, of medium texture and with moderate mechanical properties[
]. The wood is of little value, being used locally for rustic constructions, fence posts, small beams, railings etc[
The wood is used for fuel and making charcoal[
]. It is said to make a very poor fuel[
We do not have any more information on the wood for this species. However, a general description of the wood for trees in this genus is as follows:-
The heartwood is a dull uniform pink, pinkish- brown or golden-brown; it is not always sharply demarcated from the whitish to yellowish sapwood. The texture is moderately coarse; the grain slightly to highly interlocked; lustre is medium to high; there is no distinctive odour or taste. Vertical traumatic gum ducts may occur sporadically, and is sometimes considered as an objectionable defect. Different species are variable in decay resistance, they are generally reported to be susceptible to attack by fungi as well as insects. Air drying rates range from slow to rapid, the wood being prone to warp with some checking; collapse occurs in thick stock; quartersawing is suggested to minimize degrade. The wood is easily worked by either hand or machine tools, but raised and wooly grain are common defects; it takes glue, paint, and nails well, and polishes to a good finish; it has a tendency to blunt cutting edges. It is used for purposes such as carpentry, utility plywood, furniture components, interior trim, millwork. It has been suggested as a substitute for Cedrela[
Seed - of short viability, it should be sown in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed as soon as it is ripe[
]. The germination rate, even of fresh seed, is usually quite low, with the seed sprouting in 28 - 45 days[
]. Pot up the seedlings into individual containers when they are large enough to handle. They can be quite difficult to grow away successfully, possibly due to the need for a mycorrhizal relationship[
]. Adding some soil from around a healthy tree to the potting compost might resolve the problem[
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