Macawood (Platymiscium)

Macawood is an imported hardwood


Macawood and trebol are common names applied to species in the genus Platymiscium. Other common names include cristobal and macacauba. This genus is distributed across continental tropical America from southern Mexico to the Brazilian Amazon region and Trinidad.


The bright red to reddish or purplish brown heartwood is more or less striped. Darker specimens look waxy, and the sapwood is sharply demarcated from the heartwood. The texture is medium to fine, and the grain is straight to curly or striped. The wood is not very difficult to work, and it finishes smoothly and takes on a high polish. Generally, macawood air dries slowly with a slight tendency to warp and check. Strength is quite high, and density of air-dried wood ranges from 880 to 1,170 kg/m3 (55 to 73 lb/ft3). The heartwood is reported to be highly resistant to attack by decay fungi, insects, and dry-wood termites. Although the sapwood absorbs preservatives well, the heartwood is resistant to treatment.

Primary Uses

Macawood is a fine furniture and cabinet wood. It is also used in decorative veneers, musical instruments, turnery, joinery, and specialty items such as violin bows and billiard cues.

*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.