We rely on donations from our users to keep maintaining and extending our free-to-use database of over 8000 edible and useful plants. Currently we are also investing time and effort in preparing two new books on plants suitable for food forests in different warmer climate conditions, to complement the one we published in 2021 on temperate food forests, which has been very well received. Please give what you can to help us complete this work. More >>>

Follow Us:


Bulnesia sarmientoi - Lorentz & Griseb.

Common Name Pao Santo
Family Zygophyllaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found mainly in deciduous, calcareous forests, open forests, in dryland varzeas on very saline soils with good deep water humidity[ 420 ].
Range Tropical S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, eastern Brazil and Bolivia.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Bulnesia sarmientoi Pao Santo

Bulnesia sarmientoi Pao Santo
Lidia Perez de Molas


Translate this page:


Pao Santo, Bulnesia samientoi, is a tropical, slow-growing, deciduous tree found in South America. It grows up to 18 m tall and its crown is arching and spreading. The cylindrical bole is short and up to 70 cm in diameter. Wood yields a rose-like scented essential oil known as “guaiac oil” used in making perfume, soap, etc. The wood is very heavy, hard, and resistant. It is used as material for items that require great resistance to abrasion and as a fuel.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Bulnesia sarmientoi is a deciduous Tree growing to 18 m (59ft) by 18 m (59ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


No synonyms are recorded for this name.


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.

The plant is used medicinally[ 420 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

Now available: PLANTS FOR YOUR FOOD FOREST: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens.

An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More


Other Uses

Cosmetic  Fuel  Soap making  Wood

Other uses rating: High (4/5). The tree is exploited from the wild for its timber and essential oil[307 ]. An essential oil is distilled from the wood[ 307 ]. It has a soft, rose-like scent[ 46 ]. Known as guaiac oil, it is used in perfumery, making soap etc[ 46 , 307 ]. It is said to conceal the harsh notes of some synthetic aromatics[ 46 ]. The wood is very heavy, very hard and resistant, pleasantly scented with a fine and homogenous texture[ 420 ]. It has crystals of calcium oxalate and resin amongst its fibres and is extremely durable, even when exposed[ 420 ]. It is used for items that require great resistance to abrasion, such as bushings and vessel helices[ 420 ]. It is also much used for lathe work[ 420 ]. When used as a fuel, the wood gives off a fragrant smoke[ 420 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Grows best in a sunny position[ 420 ]. Plants are slow to establish and grow away slowly[ 420 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed or in containers[ 420 ]. Germination rates are normally low, occurring in 3 - 4 weeks[ 420 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Pao Santo, Bulnesia samientoi

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 : Lower Risk/conservation dependent

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Bulnesia arboreaVerawoodTree15.0 9-12 SLMHNDM004

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.


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment


Lorentz & Griseb.

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.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Bulnesia sarmientoi  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.