Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae, the legume family; the pea group.
Origin: It grows only in the southern part of Belize.
Other common names: Palisandro, de Honduras and Honduras rosenholz.
The tree: It attains a height of 50 to 100 ft. with trunk diameters of up to 3 ft. The boles are usually fluted and short and commonly forked at about 20 to 25 ft. from the ground. The papery bark is about 0.25 in. thick.
Appearance: The heartwood is a handsome pinkish-brown to purple with alternating dark and light zones and irregular black streaks forming a very attractive figure. The sapwood is yellow or grayish, from 1 to 2 in. thick and clearly demarcated. The grain is generally straight to slightly roey with a rather fine to medium texture and a low to medium luster.
Density: Average reported specific gravity ranges from 0.75 0.88(ovendry weight/green volume), equal to an air-dried weight of 60 to 72 pcf. Janka hardness is 2200 pounds of force.
Drying & shrinkage: It will air dry very slowly with a marked tendency to check. For certain uses it is allowed to season for a period of 2 to 7 years before use. Movement in service is rated as small. Shrinkage values are similar to other American rosewoods which are unusually low.
Working properties: It is moderately difficult to saw and machine due to its hardness, it dulls cutting edges and tends to ride over cutters. It turns excellently and finishes smoothly if not too oily.
Durability: The heartwood is highly durable and is moderately resistant to termite attack, while the sapwood decomposes rapidly when in contact with the ground.
Uses: The chief use of Honduras rosewood is for the manufacture of percussion bars for marimbas and xylophones. Other common uses include veneers, fine furniture, cabinetwork, brush backs, knife handles, fine turnery and many specialty items.
Availability: Since the growth area of Honduras rosewood is so small, the quantity available on the commercial market is very limited. It can however, be obtain for the right price, usually very expensive.