Pterocarpus Family. Tonewood Profile.

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Pterocarpus family Tonewood Profile Paduak Narra


Tonewoods Database

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Quick Facts
Scientific name: Pterocarpus
Trade names: Padauk, Narra, Kiaat
Janka: ~high 1,000
Uses:Back & sides, drop tops, veneer
RIYL:Rosewoods
Bling factor: Variety of figures
Availability: Steady
CITES status: Not listed. No restrictions


Pterocarpus family Tonewood Profile Paduak Narra

Description
The trees in the genus Pterocarpus derive their name from the Ancient Greek meaning Winged Fruit for their unusually shaped seed pod. These trees occur in the tropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia.


Common Names:

Padauk actually can refer to several species of Pterocarpus, although all these species some from Africa or Asian. Most have reddish wood and display stability and durability in use. Furthermore, they contain either liquid soluble substances which can be used as dyes. All have odors often described as sweet. So far I have discovered 4 species which are commonly referred to as Padauk. I list them below with a few features to help differentiate the woods. The information comes from various sources as well as partially my own experience in Asian timber yards. Do note however that it is often very difficult to distinguish some species from others and this is just a general guide:

1. African Padauk: Pterocarpus soyauxii
Most often found in the timber trade
Brilliant red when freshly cut, but fades when exposed to sunlight to a warm brown.
Read our profile on African Padauk Here

2. Burmese Padauk: Pterocarpus macrocarpus
Heartwood more orange-yellow tan to burnt red.

3. Andaman Padauk: Pterocarpus dalbergioides.
Red brown to warm red heartwood with red or black streaks.
Read our profile on Andaman Padauk Here.


4. Pashu/Malay Padauk: Pterocarpus indicus (also called New Guinea Rosewood).
Golden brown heartwood from rapidly growing trees is also called Yellow Narra.
Red or reddish brown heartwood come from slower growth individuals.
Pleasant odor remiscent of rosewoods.

5. Prickly Padauk: Pterocarpus echinatus. (also called Prickly Narra) This is listed as the wild form of P.indicus.
Like P.indicus, heartwood ranges from yellow to red and has conspicuous growth rings.


Narra like Padauk refers to several species of Pterocarpus, all of which overlap with Padauk.

1. Yellow Narra: Pterocarpus indicus (also called Pashu/Malay Padauk/New Guinea Rosewood).
Golden brown heartwood from rapidly growing trees is also called Yellow Narra.
Red or reddish brown heartwood come from slower growth individuals and is called Malay Padauk.
Pleasant odor remiscent of rosewoods.

2. Prickly Narra: Pterocarpus echinatus.(also called Prickly Padauk) This is listed as the wild form of P.indicus.
Like P.indicus, heartwood ranges from yellow to red and has conspicuous growth rings.



Pterocarpus family Tonewood Profile Paduak Narra

Uses
Pterocapus species are often used in herbal medicines and tonics as well as a food plant eg. in Fu Fu. The timbers are often highly regarded as furniture and decorative paneling. For example, Pterocarpus indicus displays an iridiscence when wet and was often used as cups for Royalty.


As a tonewood…
As a tonewood, most of the Padauks have been considered to be tonally close to rosewood. Further details can be found in the individual descriptions.


Availability
Still available at present.








Tonewoods Database

References:

Wikipedia
CIRAD Forestry department
PIER database US forestry service database
Tropical legumes: resources for the future: National Research Council (U.S.). Advisory Committee on Technology Innovation
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