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Peltogyne purpurea - Pittier

Common Name Purpleheart, Amaranth, Nazareno
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found in very humid climates, it grows best in the hills or in areas with good soil drainage at elevations from 50 - 500 metres[381 ].
Range Northern S. America - Colombia; C. America - Panama, Costa Rica.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Peltogyne purpurea Purpleheart, Amaranth, Nazareno

Reinaldo Aguilar flickr.com
Peltogyne purpurea Purpleheart, Amaranth, Nazareno
Reinaldo Aguilar flickr.com


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One of the most valuable timbers of southern Costa Rica, Peltogyne purpurea or commonly known as Nazareno grows up to 40m in height, with an elongated crown. The bole that branches from low down is moderately buttressed and can be up to 100cm in diameter. It is commonly grown in Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica. The leaves are pinnate and alternate. The flowers are white, small, aromatic, and forms into clusters. Fruits are brown containing single seed pods, and mature between November and February. The wood is very hard, heavy, tough, and strong. It is difficult to work and used for agricultural tools, boats, carpentry, construction, furniture, cabinet-making, flooring, veneer, and panelling among others.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Peltogyne purpurea is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 25 m (82ft) 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 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.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Other Uses The heartwood is purple, streaked with darker or lighter shades of the same, drying to a brilliant purple when exposed to the light; the thick layer of sapwood is nearly white, drying to a gray-yellow-brown[381 , 551 ]. The wood is very hard, heavy, strong, tough, fine-grained and often cross-grained. It takes a very beautiful polish. It is difficult to split and work[381 , 551 ]. It has been used for agricultural tools, boats, general carpentry, interior and exterior construction, railway foundations, furniture, cabinetwork, panelling, inlays, flooring, dock fenders, veneer, and ornamental plates[381 ].

Special Uses

Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist, lowland tropics, usually found in areas with a distinct dry season[409 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The fruits remain on the trees long after their maturation and the seeds, when freed by the opening of the valves, continue to adhere to the valves through the funicle, reaching the ground only, as it seems, when the condition are favourable to ensure germination[551 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Purpleheart, Amaranth, Nazareno

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Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

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

Panama; Costa Rica; Colombia

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
Peltogyne floribundaPurpleheart, pau-roxo, zapateroTree25.0 10-12 MMHNDM014
Peltogyne paniculataPurpleheart, pau-roxo, amaranttradTree30.0 10-12 MMHNDM014
Peltogyne venosaPurpleheartTree30.0 10-12 MMHNDM014

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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