Tabebuia serratifolia, Tabebuia heterophylla

Trade Names

Ipé, Lapacho, Ironwood

Similar Woods

Pockwood (lignum vitae), Greenheart


Central and South America


Ipé can be found all over the Central and South American continent as far as the Caribbean. Economically, mainly Ipé from Brazil is used, where the tree can reach a height of 65m with diameters of approx. 120 cm, depending on its habitat.


In the past, the Puerto Ricans used Ipé as construction wood whereas today it is mainly used for stakes and masts there. Due to its high stability and potentialities as construction wood for highly stressed purposes in exteriors (boat bridges, wooden terraces in gastronomy), it is very popular. Furthermore, it is used for furniture and boat building, for floorboards and panels, tool handles and sports equipment. As veneer, Ipé is used for interior fittings and exclusive furniture.


This wood species originating from Central and South America is traded with different types of the Tabebuia species, for example from Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Guayana, Surinam, Venezuela and Colombia. Processing needs to be done carefully because the sawdust has biological effects. The color of Ipé varies from reddish brown to greenish black with partly subtly distinctive stripes). It is very hard and durable and, therefore, has become known as ”garden wood“ outside South America as well. Ipé is considered to be one of the hardest wood species world-wide. For this reason, it is also called iron wood.


Due to its hardness, machining of this wood species is difficult. Therefore, the use of carbide tipped tools is recommended, as these do not tend to become dull easily. In order to facilitate processing, tools should always be well-sharpened. For the final assembly, screw and nail joints always need to be pre-drilled.


It is important to dry Ipé slowly. Apart from that, kiln-drying can be carried out well and easily.


Problem-free with all methods.


Gluing presents problems because the wood doesn‘t take glue well.