Family: Boraginaceae, the borage family.
Origin: Florida, West Indies, Central America and southward to Brazil and Argentina.
Other common names: Canalete, Amapa, Baria, Ziricote, Canaletta, Lauro, Pardo, Lauro negro, trompilla, Friejo.
The tree: Bocote is sparsely distributed over wide areas in tropical dry zones, sometimes reaching 100 ft. in height. The 4 by 3 in. leaves are elliptical and alternate with sharply pointed tips and narrow bases. Its small flowers usually have 7 petals on a tubular base.
Appearance: The heartwood varies from reddish-brown to dark brown and has irregular black streaks. It is clearly demarcated from the sapwood which is gray or yellowish. The smell is fragrant and it has a medium luster with a waxy, oily appearance. The texture is fine to medium and the grain ranges from straight to wavy.
Density: Average reported specific gravity is .63 to .84(ovendry weight/green volume), equal to an air-dried weight of 49 to 68 pcf. Janka hardness is 2200 pounds of force.
Drying & shrinkage: Bocote is not easy to dry. It is dimensionally stable once dry, but readily develops checking and end splitting. Average reported shrinkage values (green to ovendry) are 5.0% radial, 7.4% tangential and 11.6% volumetric.
Working properties: Bocote is easy to work with, finishing very smoothly and is highly attractive. Possible adverse reaction from the dust and wood is that it might be a skin sensitizer.
Durability: The wood has a very high rated durability.
Uses: It is highly esteemed in its locality for house construction, joinery and furniture. Exported wood is used for turnery, cabinetry, brush backs, handles, gunstocks and millwork. It is also sliced for veneer.
Availability: Due to the scarcity of the timber, the availability is very limited and when available, it is expensive.