Purpleheart, also referred to as amaranth, is the name applied to species in the genus Peltogyne. The center of distribution is in the north-central part of the Brazilian Amazon region, but the combined range of all species is from Mexico through Central America and southward to southern Brazil.
Freshly cut heartwood is brown. It turns a deep purple upon exposure to air and eventually dark brown upon exposure to light. The texture is medium to fine, and the grain is usually straight. This strong and heavy wood (density of air-dried wood is 800 to 1,057 kg/m3 (50 to 66 lb/ft3)) is rated as easy to moderately difficult to air dry. It is moderately difficult to work with using either hand or machine tools, and it dulls cutters rather quickly. Gummy resin exudes when the wood is heated by dull tools. A slow feed rate and specially hardened cutters are suggested for optimal cutting. The wood turns easily, is easy to glue, and takes finishes well. The heartwood is rated as highly resistant to attack by decay fungi and very resistant to dry-wood termites. It is extremely resistant to treatment with preservatives.
The unusual and unique color of purpleheart makes this wood desirable for turnery, marquetry, cabinets, fine furniture, parquet flooring, and many specialty items, such as billiard cue butts and carvings. Other uses include heavy construction, shipbuilding, and chemical vats.
*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.