Dalbergia Latifolia| Tonewood Profile | “Indian Rosewood”
Indian rosewood consists of 2 species: Dalbergia Sisso and Dalbergia Latifolia. Both are similar in appearance and physical properties although their natural history differs.
Dalbergia Sissoo is a semi-evergreen deciduous tree. It is found in the lowlands, along river banks in it’s native range which extends from Nepal through India and into Pakistan.
It is a hardy tree and has been cultivated extensively in major cities in India where air quality, drainage and soil quality are poor. Sissoo attains heights of 30 m in height and trunk diameters of 80 cm. Compared to Latifolia, the saplings of D.sissoo are shade intolerant.
Dalbergia Latifolia is a semi-evergreen deciduous tree. It is found in the lowlands, along river banks in it’s native range which extends from Indonesian Java to the sub-Himalayas through India and into Pakistan. It is not aa hardy as Sisso requiring good drainage and water- tree stunting is common in some sites due to lack of these factors. Latifolia is a larger tree than Sisso and attains heights of 40 m in height and trunk diameters of 2 m. Compared to Sissoo, the saplings of D.latifolia are shade tolerant.
Dalbergia Sissoo is widely planted as a cash crop, shade tree and ornamental in the Indian sub-continent. Large plantations on Java provide a steady source of timber where it is called Sonokeling.
Although more demanding than Sissoo, Dalbergia Latifolia has been successfully introduced to Burma, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria, and Kenya. On Java, it is considered to be almost the same as Sissoo and is also referred to as Sonokeling.
The heartwood of Dalbergia Sissoo is dark brown with a white sapwood. It is a hard, durable wood which displays good stability and ease of bending. It has a Janka rating of 3100 and a specific gravity of 0.7-0.8.
Dalbergia Latifolia has a heartwood that is purple-brown with a dark streaks. It is a hard, durable wood which displays good stability and ease of bending.
As a tonewood…
As a tonewood, Indian Rosewood has been an industry standard for the past few decades. It’s acceptance over Brazilian rosewood stems from it’s wider availability and sustainability.
I would classify this wood as providing a dark and woody overtone content with a low end predominance.
Widely available due to plantation stock.
US forestry service database
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