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Swartzia benthamiana - Miq.

Common Name Wamara
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The sawdust from wood of plants in this genus can be irritating to mill workers[316 ].
Habitats Rainforests[422 ].
Range S. America - Brazil, Ecuador, the Guyanas.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Swartzia benthamiana Wamara

mauroguanandi flickr.com
Swartzia benthamiana Wamara


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Wamara, Swartzia benthamiana, is a tree commonly found in South America that grows up to 30 m in height. It has a small crown and a straight bole with few low buttresses and can be 40 - 50 cm in diameter. It has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria that form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Though not edible, it serves medicinal purposes. The trunk yields red latex which can be used to ease toothache. The leaves and bark when crushed are also used as relief from toothache. The wood is suitable for heavy construction and woodwork.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Swartzia benthamiana is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Swartzia rosea Mart. ex Benth. Tounatea benthamiana (Miq.) Taub. Tounatea rosea (Mart. ex Benth.) Ta

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Diaphoretic  Odontalgic

The red latex that is obtained from the trunk is put on a piece of cotton which is then packed into the cavity of a tooth to relieve toothache[348 ]. The crushed leaves and bark are decocted and applied to aching teeth[348 ]. The plant (part not specified) is used as a sudorific[348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Furniture  Latex  Teeth  Wood

Other Uses: A red latex is obtained from the trunk. It is used medicinally[348 ]. Heartwood is only found in the largest trees. It varies from a chocolate brown to a pale reddish purple or purplish brown, occasionally marked by dark olive or purplish-brown coloured stripes. The very wide sapwood is white in colour. The texture is very fine; lustre good; the grain generally straight but may be variable; odour or taste is not distinctive in dry wood. The wood is extremely heavy, very dense, hard, compact, very strong, and resilient[378 ]. It is variously reported as being very difficult to moderately difficult to work with either hand or machine tools, for it is a hard, high-density wood. But there is general agreement that the wood finishes smoothly, turns very satisfactorily (as do many other very dense woods), and polishes well. It takes nails badly and needs preboring for the use of nails or screws[378 ]. The heartwood is generally reported to be very resistant to decay, but the sapwood, which makes up the bulk of the lumber produced, is not durable. The wood is rated resistant to damage by the dry-wood termite[378 ]. The heartwood is one of the most attractive woods on the export market, it is used for inlay, walking sticks, bagpipes, parquet flooring, and bows, and is recommended as a substitute for ebony for it polishes to a high lustre. The whitish sapwood is used in some localities for implement frames and spokes of wheels; the heartwood for posts, articles of turnery, furniture, cabinetwork, and heavy and durable construction. The sapwood has been recommended as a substitute for hickory (Carya) for those purposes requiring very strong, tough, and resilient material[378 ]. The wood should be well fitted for many other uses requiring a heavy, hard wood having high bending and compression strength, abrasion resistance, and durability[378 ].

Special Uses

Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 600 metres. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[755 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Range

SOUTHERN AMERICA: French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela (Amazonas), Brazil (Amazonas, Pará)

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Swartzia banniaBannia, BanyaTree12.0 10-12 MLMNM024
Swartzia grandifoliaBig leafed Swartzia, Coracao-de-NegroTree15.0 10-12 MLMHNM004
Swartzia ingifoliaSwartziaTree20.0 10-12 FLMHNM004
Swartzia leiocalycinaWamaraTree28.0 10-12 MLMNM004
Swartzia panacocoCoracao-de-Negro, panococo, Brazilian ebonyTree25.0 10-12 MLMNM024

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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