Ceiba (Ceiba pentandra)

Ceiba is an imported hardwood


Ceiba (Ceiba pentandra) is a large tree, which grows to 66 m (200 ft) in height with a straight cylindrical bole 13 to 20 m (40 to 60 ft) long. Trunk diameters of 2 m (6 ft) or more are common. Ceiba grows in West Africa, from the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone to Liberia, Nigeria, and the Congo region. A related species is lupuna (Ceiba samauma) from South America.


Sapwood and heartwood are not clearly demarcated. The wood is whitish, pale brown, or pinkish brown, often with yellowish or grayish streaks. The texture is coarse, and the grain is interlocked or occasionally irregular. Ceiba is very soft and light; density of air-dried wood is 320 kg/m3 (20 lb/ft3). In strength, the wood is comparable with basswood (Tilia americana). Ceiba dries rapidly without marked deterioration. It is difficult to saw cleanly and dress smoothly because of the high percentage of tension wood. It provides good veneer and is easy to nail and glue. Ceiba is very susceptible to attack by decay fungi and insects. It requires rapid harvest and conversion to prevent deterioration. Treatability, however, is rated as good.

Primary Uses

Ceiba is available in large sizes, and its low density combined with a rather high degree of dimensional stability make it ideal for pattern and corestock. Other uses include blockboard, boxes and crates, joinery, and furniture components.

*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.