Cativo (Prioria copaifera)

Cativo is an imported hardwood


Cativo (Prioria copaifera) is one of the few tropical American species that occur in abundance and often in nearly pure stands. Commercial stands are found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia.


Sapwood may be very pale pink or distinctly reddish, and it is usually wide. In trees up to 76 cm (30 in.) in diameter, heartwood may be only 18 cm (7 in.) in diameter. The grain is straight and the texture of the wood is uniform, comparable with that of true mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). On flat-sawn surfaces, the figure is rather subdued as a result of exposure of the narrow bands of parenchyma tissue. The wood can be dried rapidly and easily with very little degrade. Dimensional stability is very good—practically equal to that of true mahogany. Cativo is classified as a nondurable wood with respect to decay and insects. It may contain appreciable quantities of gum. In wood that has been properly dried, however, the aromatics in the gum are removed and there is no difficulty in finishing.

Primary Uses

Considerable quantities of cativo are used for interior woodwork, and resin-stabilized veneer is an important pattern material. Cativo is widely used for furniture and cabinet parts, lumber core for plywood, picture frames, edge banding for doors, joinery, and millwork.

*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.