Other Common Names: Bibiru, Sipiri,
Kevatuk (Guyana), Beeberoe, Demerara, groenhart, Sipiroe
Distribution: Commercial quantities
mostly in the north central portion of Guyana but also found
in Surinam and in the Venezuelan Guiana. It has also been
reported from the Maroni Region of western French Guiana and
from northern Brazil.
The Tree: Grows to a height of 130 ft
with diameters up to 40 in., commonly 16 to 24 in. in
diameter with heights of 100 ft. Boles are cylindrical,
straight, and clear for 50 to 75 ft with only moderate
taper; usually basally swollen or with low buttresses.
General Characteristics: Heartwood
varies from light to dark olive green or blackish often with
intermingling of lighter and darker areas; not sharply
defined from the pale yellow or greenish sapwood. Texture
fine and uniform; grain straight to roey; lustrous; odorless
and tasteless when dry.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry
weight/green volume) 0.80 to 0.91; air- dry density 62 to 70
Mechanical Properties: (First set of
data based on the 2-cm standard; second on the 2-in.
Janka side hardness 1,880 lb for green
material and 2,360 lb at 12% moisture content.
Drying and Shrinkage: The wood dries
very slowly with a marked tendency to check and end split;
however, warping is not serious and the total amount of
degrade is not excessive. Lumber over 1 in. in thickness
should be air-seasoned prior to kiln-drying. Kiln schedule
T2-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T2-C1 for 8/4.
Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 8.8%; tangential 9.6%;
volumetric 17.1%. Movement in service is rated medium.
Working Properties: Moderately difficult
to work with hand or machine tools because of its density,
dulls cutting edges rather quickly but finishes to a fine
smooth lustrous surface. Turns easily and takes a high
polish. A moderately good steam-bending wood. Gluing gives
Durability: The heartwood is rated
highly resistant to attack by decay fungi and is also rated
as highly resistant to attacks by marine borers but this may
vary from one locality to another, particularly in brackish
waters. Highly resistant to attack by dry-wood termites.
Preservation: Impermeable to
Uses: Marine and ship construction, lock
gates, docks, industrial flooring, vats, filter press
plates, piling, heavy construction, turnery, specialty items
(fishing rods, billiard cue butts).
Additional Reading: (22), (40), (42),
22. Farmer, R. H. (Editor). 1972. Handbook
of hardwoods. H. M. Stationery Office, London.
40. Kynoch, W., and N. A. Norton. 1938. Mechanical
properties of certain tropical woods chiefly from South
America. Univ. of Mich. School of Forestry and Conservation
Bull. No. 7.
42. Lavers, G. M. 1969. The strength properties of timbers.
For. Prod. Res. Bull. No.
50. H. M. Stationery Office. London.
46. Longwood, F. R. 1962. Present and potential commercial
timbers of the Caribbean.
Agriculture Handbook No. 207. U.S. Department of
From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical
Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service.
Ag. Handbook No. 607.