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Banak (Virola)

Banak is an imported hardwood


Various species of banak (Virola) occur in tropical America, from Belize and Guatemala southward to Venezuela, the Guianas, the Amazon region of northern Brazil, and southern Brazil, and on the Pacific Coast to Peru and Bolivia. Most of the wood known as banak is V. koschnyi of Central America and V. surinamensis and V. sebifera of northern South America. Botanically, cuangare (Dialyanthera) is closely related to banak, and the woods are so similar that they are generally mixed in the trade. The main commercial supply of cuangare comes from Colombia and Ecuador. Banak and cuangare are common in swamp and marsh forests and may occur in almost pure stands in some areas.


The heartwood of both banak and cuangare is usually pinkish or grayish brown and is generally not differentiated from the sapwood. The wood is straight grained and is of a medium to coarse texture. The various species are nonresistant to decay and insect attack but can be readily treated with preservatives. Machining properties are very good, but when zones of tension wood are present, machining may result in surface fuzziness. The wood finishes readily and is easily glued. Strength properties of banak and cuangare are similar to those of yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera).

Primary Uses

Banak is considered a general utility wood for lumber, veneer, and plywood. It is also used for moulding, millwork, and furniture components.