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Species – Brazilian Cherry

Species Information - Birch

Species Information

Brazilian Cherry is a tree commonly found in the Caribbean, Central and South America. As a hardwood, it’s typically used for furniture and flooring, while its sap is often used for perfumes and varnishes.

Despite being referred to as Brazilian Cherry (or even South American Cherry), this is no Cherry tree. It’s a legume belonging to the Fabaceae family (which includes soybeans, chickpeas, alfalfa, peanuts, and more).

When turned into a hardwood for flooring, Brazilian Cherry doesn’t give off an odor; however, the species is still often called stinking toe, old man’s toe or stinktoe because of the odor of the pulp inside the seed pods.

Brazlian Cherry is unique in that it produces a sticky gum known as animé. Animé is the French word for animation, and refers to the gum’s insect-infested natural state. The gum softens quite easily (even from the heat of a mouth), and produces a pleasant odor. Brazilians continue to use animé today for lung-related diseases; it was once used as an ingredient for ointments and plasters but is now only used for varnishes and incense.

The gum does turn into amber … after a process that takes 1 million years.

Woodworkers enjoy working with Brazilian Cherry because of its stiff, strong and hard qualities. It is a high-strength, yet low-cost, lumber.

Scientific Names

The scientific name for Brazilian Cherry is Hymenaea courbaril.

Origin

Brazilian Cherry is indigenous to the Latin America region of the world, including the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

Crossover Names

Brazilian Cherry is not, in fact, cherry at all. Its true name is Jatoba. Another common names for the tree include Brazilian copal, West Indian locust, and amamigum.

Janka Rating

Brazilian Cherry has a Janka hardness rating of 2,350.

Brazilian Cherry Janka Scale Rating 2,350

*The Janka rating measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. Click Here for more info.

Appearance

The heartwood of Brazilian Cherry varies from a pale, orange-brown to a deeper and darker red-brown. The sapwood, on the other hand, is a light-grayish yellow, with a clear and profound demarcation from the heartwood.

The grain of Brazilian Cherry is typically interlocked, with a good natural luster, and medium to course texture.

Brazilian Cherry offers a moderate-to-high color variation.

Workability

Brazilian Cherry is typically considered challenging (difficult) to work with, primarily because of its density and hardness. It is known to have a moderate blunting effect on tool cutters, and is typically difficult to plane out without tear out because of its interlocking grain. Yet it glues, stains, turns and finishes quite well, and responds nicely to steam bending.

When nailing, it’s vital that the angle of penetration be adjusted carefully, as a result of the wood’s hardness. If using a pneumatic nailer, be sure to adjust the pressure accordingly.

Brazilian Cherry rates well in terms of rot resistance, and is also resistant to termites and most other insects.

CLICK HERE to view all of our Brazilian Cherry flooring.

Click below for a detailed discription of the different species of hardwood.

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