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Species – Cumaru

Species Information - Cumaru

Species Information

The Cumaru tree (also referred to as the Kumaru tree) is a flowering tree in the pea family. The seeds that it produces are known as tonka beans (as well as tonkin or tonquin), which give off a strong fragrance similar to sweet woodruff. The seeds contain coumarin, making it a preferred choice for the perfume industry. This coumarin is actually produced as a defense chemical, and large infused doses can cause hemorrhage or liver damage, while it can also paralyze the heart.

Tonka beans are used as vanilla substitutes, in perfumes, and in tobacco, although some countries have banned it. These beans are also often used in French cuisines (especially desserts and stews).

Cumaru trees can grow up to 160 feet in length, and generally have a trunk that’s 3 to 5 feet in diameter. The bark of the tree is smooth and gray, while the wood is a fine red.

Cumaru is often used in flooring, cabinetry, furniture, heavy construction, railroad ties, docks, handles, and bearings. Cumaru lumber is extremely stiff and hard, making it useful for many applications. It is often used in place of Lignum Vitae, which is far scarcer.

Similarly to Jatoba, Cumaru is a great option for anyone in search of low-cost lumber that possesses superb strength and hardness.

Scientific Names

The scientific name for Cumaru is Dipteryx odorata.


The Cumaru tree is native to Central America and northern South America.

Crossover Names

Cumaru is also known as Brazilian Teak. However, when referred to as Brazilian Teak, it’s important not to mistake it with the wood most commonly known as Teak (Tectona grandis).

In some instances, Cumaru is referred to by the name Tonka Bean.

Janka Rating

Cumaru, or Brazilian Teak, has a Janka rating of 3,300, qualifying it as a particularly hard wood that’s 160% harder than Red Oak.

Cumaru Janka Scale Rating 3,300

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


Cumaru has heartwood that leans toward medium to dark brown, at times consisting of purplish hues. Some portions of its heartwood have been known to contain streaks of yellowish or greenish brown. The grain of Cumaru is interlocked, with a medium texture and waxy feel.

Due to its hardness, Brazilian Teak resists denting and traffic wear, making it a stable and worthwhile option for families and businesses. It is also a very heavy wood, weighing in at more than 3 pounds per square foot.

A finished Cumaru floor will consist of an even, reddish-brown appearance.


Cumaru is known to be difficult to work with, as a result of its density and interlocked grain. However, if the grain isn’t too interlocked, it can be surface-planed. The wood does contain silica, however, which can cause blunting on tool cutters. Gluing can also be problematic, as Cumaru has high oil content. Pre-boring is recommended when screwing or nailing the wood.

CLICK HERE to view all of our hardwood flooring.

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

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