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Astronium balansae - Engl.

Common Name Astronium
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats In southern Brazil it is found growing in almost pure stands on level basaltic outcrops that are almost devoid of soil[ 625 ]. Wet forests in Argentina and Paraguay, favouring well-drained, sandy soils[ 341 ].
Range S. America - northern Argentina, Paraguay, southern Brazil.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Astronium balansae Astronium

Jorge Vallmitjana
Astronium balansae Astronium
Jose Antonio Radins


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Astronium balansae is a deciduous, flowering tree native to Argentina and Paraguay. It has a large, open crown and a crooked bole that often branches from low down. It grows 5-25 m tall with up to 120cm bole diameter. Tannins can be obtained from the tree's bark and wood. The wood is also a great fuel source. It is very heavy, hard, and resistant to insect attacks. It is also an ornamental tree.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Astronium balansae is a deciduous Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Myracrodruon balansae (Engl.) Santin


Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

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None known

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Other Uses

Other uses rating: High (4/5). Other Uses The bark and wood are a source of tannins[ 341 , 625 ]. The wood contains up to 16% tannins[ 341 ]. The heartwood is pale to dark grey when fresh, turning to dark brown on exposure with dark stripes; it is distinctly demarcated from the narrow band of yellowish sapwood[ 341 ]. The texture is fine and even; grain is wavy, sometimes interlocked; lustre is low; taste and odour absent[ 341 ]. The wood is very heavy; extremely hard and difficult to cut; and exceptionally resistant to insect attacks even when exposed to the elements. Working properties are variable; it finishes well; is difficult to nail and pre-boring is necessary for good results. It can be used for various outdoor purposes including railway sleepers, posts, bridge beams and door and window frames[ 341 , 625 ]. The wood is a very good fuel and produces an excellent charcoal[ 341 ].

Cultivation details

Found mainly at lower elevations in the subtropical areas of northern Argentina, southern Brazil and Paraguay, though there is one report of it growing outside its native range in Lima, Peru, which is about 12' south, at an elevation of 240 metres[ K ]. Grows best in a sunny position[ 625 ]. Prefers a well-drained, sandy soil[ 341 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[ 625 ].

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Seed - it needs to be sown in a nursery seedbed as soon as it is ripe. Germination takes 6 - 32 days and the young plants will be ready for planting out 9 - 10 months later[ 625 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Astronium or Astronium balansae

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Coming Soon

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.

None Known

Conservation Status

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

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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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