Hymenea courbaril

Trade Names

Brazilian Cherry, South American Cherry, Jatoba

Similar Woods

Afzelia, Angelique, Bilinga, Padouk, Guapinol


Central and South America, Antilles


The occurrence of Jatoba is limited to the tropical America. Its natural growing area reaches from Mexico and West India to Paraguay and Bolivia. It is mainly native in Northern Brazil – Amazon Basin – and in the countries of the Guyana shield. The trees are mostly consistently cylindrical and, therefore, very suitable for veneer production. In Central America this species is also known as “Courbaril” (Please see page 163).


In the veneer sector, Jatoba is mainly used as parquet wood and less often as furniture wood in the series furniture production. Ideal also for terrace wood due to its good resistance to fungal disease and insect infestation.


Jatoba has an intensive reddish brown color, relatively uniform without bigger color deviations. The veneer business distinguishes between the more light brown and the more reddish types and uses one or the other color, but not mixed together.


A mechanical treatment requires a higher application of force due to the above-average hardness of this non-coniferous species. The use of sharp, hard metal tools promises relief. Jatoba can easily be sawn, sanded, drilled and turned; only planing of the wood is difficult. Pre-drilling is necessary for screws and nails.


Air drying as well as kiln drying run smoothly when straight fiber course is given and take place quickly in relation to Jatoba’s high density.


Thanks to the predominantly straight ber course, smooth, at-shining surfaces and proper edges result. Takes glaze and lacquer very well.


No difficulties known.