Virola, light


Virola, light


Density in kg/m3

The Tree
Light virola is very common in the swamp and marsh forests of Surinam and is a frequent to locally common tree throughout Guyana in the riparian, mora, and marsh forests It is abundant in the islands of the Amazon estuary of Brazil. The tree is heavily buttressed, of medium to large size, attaining a height of 42.Om and a diameter of 1.5m under favourable conditions, but usually is much shorter, with a cylindrical bole clear of branches to between 1 8.0m and 24.0m and about 1.0m in diameter.

The Timber
The heartwood is a cream or tan colour when freshly cut darkening on exposure to a pinkish, golden brown or deep reddish-brown, not very clearly demarcated from the lighter coloured sapwood. The wood has a low lustre and medium to coarse texture; the grain is straight, and the wood weighs from 430 to 580 kg/m3 when dried.

Light virola has a high shrinkage ratio by comparison with Honduras mahogany. In drying from the green to oven dry condition, light virola shrinks 4.8 - 5.3 per cent radially, 12.4 - 13.4 per cent tangentially, and 17.6 per cent volumetrically, against corresponding values of 3.5, 4.8, and 7.7 per cent respectively for the mahogany. The wood accordingly has a strong tendency to cup and split radially, and for thick stock to retain its moisture despite rapid surface drying. However, provided care is taken, the wood should dry with a minimum of degrade.

In the air dry condition, light virola is superior to Honduras mahogany in stiffness and shock resistance, but is inferior to that timber in other strength properties, being closer to those of American whitewood (Liriodendron) in bending strength and gradually applied loads, but inferior to that species in crushing strength and in shock loading.

Working Qualities
Medium - Light virola works easily and very satisfactorily. It nails, screws and glues well, and can be stained without difficulty to resemble mahogany fairly well, it gives satisfactory results in polishing and varnishing. When properly dried it holds its place well when manufactured, with practically no tendency to warp or check.

Latin Name
Virola spp, Virola surinamensis, Virola sebifera, Virola melinonii, Virola koschnyi

Also known as
light virola, baboen (Central America), muscadier a grive (French West Indies), banak (Belize), sangre (Guetamala and Nicaragua), fruta colorado (Costa Rica), bogabani (Panama), ucuuba (Brazil), baboen ordalli (Guyana), St Jean rouge, moonba

Wood Type

Moderately easy



Guyana, French Guiana, Surinam ,Venezuela, Brazil, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, Belize, Guatemala, Panama