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Dalbergia_retusa - Hemsl.

Common Name Cocobolo
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The sawdust is said to act as a poison on the people working with it in the factories[ 551 ].
Habitats Found only on the drier half of the isthmus, from Gambia south, but it is never common. Occasionally seen along roads in the Canal area, or in farmland woodlots[ 333 ]. Tropical moist forest and premontane moist forest[ 315 ].
Range Central America - Panama to Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Dalbergia_retusa Cocobolo


International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Dalbergia_retusa Cocobolo
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Summary

A deciduous tree of about 20 m tall with cylindrical trunk that branches from low down, Dalbergia retusa or commonly known as Cocobolo is one of commonly exploited in the wild for its highly valued timber used for a wide range of items including knife and tool handles, musical


Physical Characteristics

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Dalbergia_retusa is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Amerimnon lineatum (Pittier) Standl Amerimnon retusum (Hemsl.) Standl. Dalbergia hypoleuca Pittier D

Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

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.



None known

Other Uses

Other Uses: A unique property of the species is the secretion of compounds that act as potent bactericides, fungicides and algaecides[ 381 ]. The heartwood is a very dark red, with faint streaks of black similar to rosewood (Dalbergia nigra); it is clearly demarcated from the thick band of nearly white sapwood. The texture is fine, the grain crossed, lustrous in colour with a faintly fragrant smell. The wood is hard, heavy, strong, tough, and durable in contact with the soil. It is rather difficult to work, but takes a good polish. It is used for a wide range of items including knife and tool handles, musical and scientific instruments, inlay, jewellery boxes, rosary beads, chess pieces and steering wheels[ 46 , 333 , 381 , 551 ]. This is the wood used commonly by indigenous people for carving[ 333 ].

Cultivation details

We have no specific information on this species, but members of this genus generally prefer a fertile, loam soil and a position in full sun[ 200 ]. A slow-growing species[ 381 ]. Cocobolo responds well to fire. In areas experiencing periodic burning new saplings and small trees are observed to be numerous[ 381 ]. Trees often flower all year round[ 315 ]. 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 ].

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Propagation

Seed - a germination rate up to 80% has been observed in the nursery[ 381 ]. Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[ K ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Caviuna, Cocobolo, Cocobolo Prieto, Funeram, Granadillo, Jacarandáholz, Kaway tree, Nambar, ñamba, Nicaraguan Rosewood, Palisander, Palissandro, Palo Negro, Pau Preto, Rosewood, Urauna

Found In

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

Belize; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama

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 : Status: Vulnerable A1acd

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Author

Hemsl.

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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