Hura wood or Possumwood (Rakuda)


Material Information

Hura wood or Possumwood (Rakuda) Hura crpitans L., Hura polyandra Baill., family Euphorbiaceae
Series Title:
Report ;
Added title page title:
Information leaflet, foreign woods
Physical Description:
8 p. : ; 26 cm.
Gerry, Elise, b. 1885
Forest Products Laboratory (U.S.)
Forest Products Laboratory
Place of Publication:
Madison, Wis
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Euphorbiaceae   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (p. 7-8).
General Note:
Caption title.
General Note:
"... in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin" -- p. 1.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Eloise Gerry.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 029337538
oclc - 320537251
System ID:

Full Text

Forest Pro@ :-' : Forest J,, rvice
.. rt ric ltire
1- 1

i.-2-.' VOCD" or PO SI. : 7Q: '.,--

-- --..... .--............ ....... .... ....
.. .F II.I 'L : "' -.,* b fa c e a e "" ** ,.

L US _'-T r...LOISE -=;;.t, Forcts Products Techolorois+
Division of Silvicultural .,,ilations

Acuam.............. Colcmbia
".. .......... Co ombia
rbo del ia'. IoD... .Mexico
uI eillc .......... Colomrbia
\.f Cu... .... ...... B ra il
-:'. du diable..... .French 'e st Indies
C- taneto... ........Colombia
Cut al ua ............. Pcru
Cc ai a a arilla...... Colombia
Ceiba bl-:c........ CriombL a,
Ve-,,- ., uela
Ceiba hat i 11 ......... Venezuela
C iba de leche...... Colombia,
C' ,ha de lechasa.... Cco"ia,
!-L ela
CE- o............. Coor.i a,
e er ez ue!,a
1aba ..... ... ....... Lexico
}laba de indio....... ;r-.ico
Hba de San Lr-!ci-)."
Haba de ''iatemala.. .!exico
'iatillo c:r (a) ...... Cuba, 4.:exico,
Cio-tib, ?Peru,
I-iavillo .. ........... ico
S. .. ..... trace
Jabiillo cr (a)...... Uoxico, Central
Are ri ca, Venez uela

non NIames
Javarillo............. Pcrtc co
Javillo or (a)........ Cuba Puerto 'co,
[*on; n ic an R e ^umb lic,
1linillo............. :jr! 'i-c
T'" -I ess ............. C
]..onk,'"s. dinnerbe 4l...r. : .s indies

'un C .................. L
Ocl I ho .)I .. .. .. .. .. ..... 7'-1 i '.i
c-llc ................ *
PpT,if a de San 1223C O."ey. ,vco
..- ,e~tIndies
FDi 'u diab.e.........Trench >est Indies
FoEss.n trie (I-,i son
tree) .. .Surin:
Posterntrie..............r. a
.Pos o ...............trad
t-aa -tlatatzin ..........ex`ico
ua Uh t atl t.i.. ........e. ,-
Pku, a..ti tla . ., .......... er..
a yil............... h ct
%!fal/ .. .. a e

Salvadera............. r..: Cclonbia,
SanUdbox tr:e ......... iish .'esi2t .-dies
Sedan blanca. .o...rirican ep uc
....... ....
Soli~roa che. ............ Me xicoo
Tat reta .............. vatcIa
STronador............... -ma
Uassacu ...............

' -riculture'-. ad: -on

-1.air.taine6 at Ii.i .on, ,"_, in c *: ration ,ith the niersity of .icns:..

Rent. '>:. FITO

Distribution and Habitat

Two closely related species of Hura occur as large trees from the 7'est Indies
and southern :Mexico to northern Brazil. The ',exican species (,. polyandra
Braill.) differs little from the more widely distributed Hura wood (. crrpitans
L.) (17).- The best growth is reported to be on the low narrow reefs of the
coastal plain near 1aramaribo, Surinam, where nearly pure stands, yielding
6,000 to 10 ,000 board feet per acre and averaginF 25,000 board feet per acre
ever an area of 20,000 acres, are found.

In Colombia, it is common along the tributaries of tie .agdalene River,
especially in the reion about El Eanco. In Venezuela, it is found along the
banks of streams and in the moist valleys of the coast rang-e and is cut along
the shores of Lake i.'aracaibo.

The Tree

The tree: growing in the coen may. have relatLvely short, thick trunks, but in
the forest 7iey may attain heights of 90 to 130 feet or even as high as 200
feet. TI- forest t trees have straight, fairly regular trucks often free of
braricne for frsom i to _O"O feet and coiw.ionly 3 to 5 feet or sometimes 6 to 9
feet in diamneter abov-e the rather small buttre 1sea.

These trees often have sharp sni'-s on branches and trunk. ?71y are reported
o toebeLaoited with .o kmecn'- I e tree- are extensively cultivated
for shade and decorative purposes in the tropics of both hemispheres.


Thc bark is thick an rather smoot... xcept near the base of the tree where it is
covered wih the short conical s< ns m ntioned (11). I contains a caustic
la-Lex that shatters w!en a tree is cut. Th is -a-x irrit tin- to the eyes
and skin and is poisonous if taken internrallvy. It 1 .s eimes used for
stupifying fish (1&) and also has been used as a remedy for elephlantiasis and


The leaves resemble those of cottonwood.

Flowers and Fruit

The flo ..ers arc dark red and borne in the form of a cone.

The structure of the stir.ens is used in distinqu1 hinge species.

The fruits resemble little pumpkins (sandbox) and explode on drying, scattering
wafcr-like s which contain 50 percent of oil and are used to poison animals.

nr2., drlined numbers in parenthbeses refer to the list of numbered references at
the end cf the article.

Rept. No. R1902

General arance

The .oo superficially receive: Sarb, b 1ut l rks the bitter tarte.


-' >:acd varie( in color from a lus-trous. creamy 'n:te to iL-ht buff v-hen fresh,
oWc'2s. I 'r:ul v-it indUistict pnuplis or (LLni f strak. *..hl drv, it na-y
an: .:r A llo,'i br-'rn or ale oliv "ra

Ye i cK I

'- vood is nFocrately 1ich+, co. ..ra].. lio- lar. I c gravity
0.3^' (0 U .51) bacer nn ovel-dr'.- i an" rrcon voirmc or a 0 ei n 0f
abou !;*olu.^ :c..c foot -n> :. 2n ouan, a r-dry ill).

17 -rnar, -ar' mix

ra Cood i- rat-d as irne to Uedi'n tnx+ur+e,. t cuts tI a nore or loss
"* surface Lne has an ianr, t, r e" frin or ri' on strme oS tce
r-" i 1i surface, aithou te :i'a- i. usually not prononed xcopt in
si u, a 1 not, c-~, xceTt. in
c o1)eL 'I: herin is L nerall. int, locked but a m- 1 'rai)- (11

Lust r

Lu'iatr is rated as i
KO)r ai Taste

* r a.a taste are l-ckinr (11).

AX!t cu svie:ha t difficult to savw -,hen -ren of t tore--e fuzzin ess
of c he cut sar ce, t;. wood can be readily na-hin>d -.l};n dry. Lack cf clean
cutting aI n. c+ tornn r n are frequently enc4uniere n ,wLth ia4,erial
-"*I.ic has e&xnrCelu interiocked grain. 7 oe Tte o take st ais '"ci and rlu-s
cKanical Froperor Gs e1i)

., ~1 . .
Th.e fcllo".dinp, da^.a in table 1 wcre obtained in rec,:nt trl''ts con School of Fo restry in c-o prraion ";at th/ Office of h'avaa .'s-arQd -an'1
-ure-au; of~ 1~ips, :.. h-vvy - p --~(.n-t, und',' Co(ntr'act *; op-'- Tuik Orde X7
r c Desi-nai :r. .- ) and i:1lis!:e in 'Tr pi'c"l 'd ho 07,
*-cv. 1, 1-') ^, pa -- ". Corn panrdve da x'a for yelio"-^op 112 ot ainec a*t
Forest Froduc-ts Laborantor-y a:re als inlud.

S*-Ne '-ti. sceso like de:siL'y, p u-.-ood is aaov -v na- in all
st(tic-.n d. S' cI ropertes exc pt s2iff1 e: i. -. c' i is s1i2 avrar-.. It as average in hfanesm ti i'-.. tand reis:ance ..o FrIn

Rcpt. No. 1i?

Table l.--Comparison of mechanical properties of possumwooqd and yellow-poplar (11)

Source :Number:Moisture:Specific gravity: Static bending
*: of :content: ----------------: --------------------------------------------------
: logs : :Oven-dry: Green :Fiber stres8:Modulus:Modulus :Work to :Work to
S: volume :volume :at propor- : of :of elas-:proportion-:mRximum
S: : :tional limit:rupture: ticity : al limit : load
.:. . . :. . . . . . :: - -- - -- - : -- - - : - - -- : -- -- -- - - - -



:Surinam :
:Average :



64.7 :
60.9 :
76.0 :
67.2 :


0.42 :
.42 :
.40 :
.41 :







P.8s. i__.:

6,520 :
5,670 :
6,940 :
6,510 :





:In.-lb. per:In.-lb.
cu. in. :per cu.

0.70 : 6.4
S .88 : 7.5
1.08 : 5.7
S .89 6.5

S .62 : 5.4

:Compression parallel to grain :Hardness:Compression:Tension:Shear:Cleavage:Toughness
:------------------------------ perpen- :perpen-:
:Fiber stress:Maximum :Modulus : : dicular :dicular:
: at propor- :crushing:of elas-: : to grain : to
:tional limit:strength:ticity :-------- :----------- :grain
:: End:Side:Stress at :
.: : proportion-:
:: : : :al limit :




: States




P.s.i. : 1,000

2,450 : 1,090
2,670 : 1,170
5,270 : 1,240
2,790 : 1,170

2,420 .......


:510: 440:
:460: 590:
:590: 500:
:520: 440:

. :390: 540:




P.s.i. :P.s.;:Lb.
: : in

: WI





per :In. Lb.
. of per
.dth :specimen

207 : 78.6
210 : 75.4
480 : 57.1
500 : 70.4

220 .........

1 -U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bul. 479.

Rept. No. R1902 -4-




and modulus of elasticity as determined ty compression .,rallel to the grain;
above average in shear, cleavai-e, ani comprression and tension perpendicular to
the grain, and, below average in stress at proportional limit in compression
parallel to the .-gr' i.

In the tabulation it is compared with ycllow-poplar which is of similar
density. The two species are much allke in all measured mechanical proper-
ties, with pos:i.rwood being sli;"'.tly superior to yullowi-popla'r in all but
stiffness as determined by bending.

S2 asoning

Possunood can be air dried at a fast rate without unldu w',rping and checking.
Early rapid drying tends to forestall the dI.v-lopment of molfl and stain which
form rapidly on green mt;ri>l in warm i.,ther.
As indicated in table 2, volumetric shrinkage of possu:'iwood is low, 7.3 per-
cent, which compares favorably with mahogany, 7.7 percent, and pnite pine, 8.2
percent. The diff rence between shrir:'-re radially of 2.7 percent and t'anr,-n-
ti ll of' 4.5 percent is moderate, indicat-''n rather uniform shrinkage in these
twyeo directions. Longitudinal shrinkage of .'8 percent does not exc d the
limit of variation to be expected of wood characterized b/ intdrloc .. gr in.

Table 2

Species source Shrinkage

SRadial :Tangential:Longitudinal:Volumetric
-------------------.----------- ------------------------------------
P r enrc1nt: Prc jnt : Percent Percent

Possumwood :Panama : 2.5 4 .( 0.26 6.4
(7ura crepituns) :Venezuela : 2.8 4.6 .77 7-5
:Surinam 2.7 4.4 .42 8.0
:Average : 2.7 4.5 .k 7.3

Irhom-any (Swietenia :Central Am rica: 3.5 4.8 --- 7.7

"Thite pine (Pinus :United' States 2.3 6.0 --- 3.2


Possumvrrood has been found to be fairly resistant to f... 'and susctptibl h to
damage by termites, (4., 27). Tusts conuct,;d at Yal (11), sho.rvd cth. wood to
have resistance to d cay b- a awhi tf,-rot and A, bro.'m-rot fungus r;. .,ing from
nondurable to durable. Tests conducted by thY ,v; (1) on wmtr 'absorption and
weathering indicate that this w;ood comr-' r's f'orably 4n both r-s srcts e vith
Philippine and Central Ameri an mahoan>y. th, tests a Yale (ll), how ever,
show e.d possum, ocal as toj n o evh t ,
showed as b someha inferior to Central A-erican '.aho in
resistance to water absorption.
Rept. 77o. R1902 -5-


The "ood is used locally for common luImber for interior construction and car-
pentry and in making dugout canoes, boxes and crates, and veneers and ply-
w'od. In Lexico, it is sometimes used for telegraph poles. It is considered
too light and soft to withstand marring for use as a preferred cabinet wood.
It rates as a cheap substitute for Spanish cedar (Cedrela). Since possumwvood
takes glue well, it could probably be sed for corestock, utility and face
veneer, and millwork.

Commercial Aspects

.n effort to introduce this wood into the American market under the name
"Riakuda" was made by TW. L. Kann, Pittsburgh, Pa., beginning about 1923 (17).

.*natomical Structure (19)

Gro,.:th rings are indistinct to distinct.

Pores vary from small to rather large in different specimens and are not
very nixmrous. Vessel ends have simple perforations.

Tyloses are fairly abundant, and light-colored gum deposits are cc ,.

Ray:s are uniseriate or locally biseriate, mostly less than 20 cells high, and
nearly homogeneous.

Ripple marks are generally absent.

Rcpt. N,. R1902

Li-t of f e-f''enco:

1. Anonymous.
19i4. }hlillo V'ood a S itutci for :. 'y. o. A Lpart-
me'nt, N>v, York I.aval hiry2rd, r( kl"., et -i1

2. Anonyous.
19J4. Select 'Rept. 'o. 9.
iill, London, t. *

sir>' r DevIlopm nt A f io1'iatiro, 21 (Y11ere

3. )ritish Standards Institution.
19:5. N omenclature of Co- erc1ial Timer. r ovii o nal U-1 1 net to
I.. 1 1 L n.-, cnl
r ~t s o kr: a I' ,
riti tand.ard 61 :i;i .:lX919 6 i ).. Lo.don, l6 p.

It. Brookk:, I. L. Xclians:., A. :.., a':Wor, R. *. an Cr. "'d, z. i'.
19U.1i. Durability Tests )on il trete.d i.. i da Caari eA
Forest r 2(3)iC1 II-I] Ai

Cooper, G. Froctor
1 2 The or st s of westernn P'mama. Trorici '"oo 1 6:1-I, lee.
(Scho.l of Forestry, Yale TU-niersity, Pw ,cave C, n.)

12. Th Forests of Ven::ezuela. Tropical oods P:32-L2, i

7. Daniel, V.
193'. <.otJ? Sorc 1'ilf-un Zufor: iaees.' Icletnm de Colc i-i de
,i i **l' e g .O ltL i-J-.l ... .--).i,.._ -i-' ) (. ^ ~J-L I.

s. :ugaedI, Arilndo (
1931. The Transition Forest of Vtlantico, roo mbia. Tropical oodr
ou:1- l, Iee.

9. Dugou!, Ar..n.
1936. I.;onina de ls-" *aderas cquee se npiear in paarr,..uilla.. par
Constiruccion, Iba in steria y ,r, .... br'. Bl. unr cil; de
Estadic, Ciudad, de Barraciiuilla 3, *( ..40-.-t Feb.

"De Quauhtlatlatzin seu Arbore Creilantl II"
i'...ure d) '. : aurus (seo Gtadl1y (20).

(The Tree is

11. iess, I.

,. m aarrA 7. 'ckIins,, .. r,.
I i~n erte. and3 Ues, of ro ica) c o ,I'l "rj.;.. '
i~o. 57:1-132 (73-76).

12. Jafa '. C.
1943. lur'in, a :Iew Plant Prctea.< fro-m "c' ri..s (V 'n''e1')
Jour. yochem. ld9(i):1-7, Jul.

13. Lamnb, George
I1u7. iorei.n oods: 7.u'ar-.-

iE. Le Cointe, taui
19>7. t...or, s c Fllntas tei

'"ood a rodctc 2(9):2, et.

* 3':2asn dra'i: i1ra" VII, >'i" P'lo21r,

Rept. No. J,9:2

10. lernandez

15. Iverker, C. \., 3Barbour, r.'. ., Scholten, J. A*, and Dayton, V. A.
1943. The Forests of Costa Rica. U. S. Forest Service, Washington,
46 p.

16. Pfeiffer, J. Ph.
192(. De Houtsoorten van Suriname. AXmsterdam. 2L4 p.

17. Record, S. J.
193>. The \nerican "Woods of the Family Euphorbiaceae. Tropical Woods
(li:7-40(25-26) (with key).
1. *Record, S. T and Hess, R.
1943. Timbers of the Hew World. Yale Press, New Haven, Conn., p. 160.

1;. Record, -. J. and Mell, C. D.
192L. Timbers of the Tropica %merica. Yale Press, flewv Haven, Conn.,
p. 374-77.

20. Staidlcy,

21. Standley,

22. Standley,

23. Standley,

2L. WilliA-ms,

25. Wi]liams,

26. siilis,

P. C.
Trees and Sihrubs of Mexico. Contrib. U. S. .atl. Herbarium
(7iashinFton). 23, Pt. 3:6L;5-46.

PauL C.
Poisonous Trees of Central America. Tropical VWoods 9:3-7, Mar.

Paoul Co.
Flora of the Panama Canal Zone. Contrib. U. S. Natl.
hcrbari-mn (Wa.hington). 27:l-L416, Jan.

Paul C.
Flora of Costa Rica. Field !Cus. !hit. Hist. (Chicago), Bot.
Series 18:1-1616.

7:ood of Northeast rn Peru. Field V4::, Nat. Hist. (Chicago),
Biot. Series 1;:1-~i7, Dec.

M1aderas Economicas de Venezuela. B3ol. Tech. 1o. 2, i'lirni.-terio
de Agri. & Cria. Carac-is, 97 P.

Exploraciones Botanicas en 1-i r':i:a Venezol.ana. cr,'icio
Botanico, MIinisterio de Agri. & Cria. Caracas, 6e .p.

27. Wolcott, GeorN> U.
19L0. \ List of Woods \rru. -ed According to Their Resistance to the
Attack of the "Polill," the Dry-wood T,rmite of the VWest
Indies (Cryptot -. s brevis walker) Caribbean Forester
1 s h: 1-9, ,July.

3 1262 08927 3576

.ept. 1o. A1902