African Ebony

Diospyros ssp.

Trade Names

Macassar, Grenadillo, White Ebony


East and West Africa


African Ebony is growing predominantly in the coastal regions of East and West Africa and consists of various Diospyros species. In Madagaskar alone, many different species are native. Furthermore, occurrences are known in Nigeria, Gabon and Angola. The botanical name of this species derives from the Greek language and means “Nourishment of the gods” (Greek Dios = god, Spyros = nourishment).


African Ebony is often used for wood carvings and for sculptures. With skillful handling, the well-known gures from the African animal world are produced, among other things. In addition, it is of great im- portance as veneer and solid wood and as components for manufacturing musical instruments (e.g. for wind instruments, plucked instruments and string instruments). As veneer, African Ebony is solely used for exclu- sive projects, in ship and airplane interior ttings due to its amboyant beauty and high prices. Since each log has a different marking, all pro- ducts manufactured of this wood are extremely special and unique.


The dark gray to yellowish sapwood has a width of about ve to nine centimeters. It is economically insigni cant for trading and, therefore, hardly known, has a width of about ve to nine centimeters. The consistently deep black heartwood on the other hand is in high demand. It is very durable and occasionally contains grayish-black zones. Especially the great contrasts between light sapwood and dark heartwood, and the mixture of both, result in extremely interesting contrasts and structures in the veneer.


Extremely complex due to its hardness. Before screwing or nailing the wood, it should be pre-drilled, otherwise checking might occur.


Must be carried out very slowly, otherwise strong checking occurs.




The wood absorbs glue well so that veneer and support materials join firmly. After pressing, the surface can easily be treated with lacquers.