Degame (Calycophyllum candidissimum)

Degame is an imported hardwood


Degame or lemonwood (Calycophyllum candidissimum) grows in Cuba and ranges from southern Mexico through Central America to Colombia and Venezuela. It may grow in pure stands and is common on shaded hillsides and along waterways.


The heartwood of degame ranges from light brown to oatmeal- colored and is sometimes grayish. The sapwood is lighter in color and merges gradually with the heartwood. The texture is fine and uniform. The grain is usually straight or infrequently shows shallow interlocking, which may produce a narrow and indistinct stripe on quartered faces. In strength, degame is above the average for woods of similar density; density of air-dried wood is 817 kg/m3 (51 lb/ft3). Tests show degame superior to persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) in all respects but hardness. Natural durability is low when degame is used under conditions favorable to stain, decay, and insect attack. However, degame is reported to be highly resistant to marine borers. Degame is moderately difficult to machine because of its density and hardness, although it does not dull cutting tools to any extent. Machined surfaces are very smooth.

Primary Uses

Degame is little used in the United States, but its characteristics have made it particularly adaptable for shuttles, picker sticks, and other textile industry items that require resilience and strength. Degame was once prized for the manufacture of archery bows and fishing rods. It is also suitable for tool handles and turnery.

*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.