I~ii';:'lAT :"; Li;J'LET
FO~iL [iL" *./* *'* 7
Forest Prndiu.ts Labcra .ry,= rrt .o-i jce
U. 3. r'e art.e'.t of A/-lcult'3
('-M- iMyristiciceae, NuAtreg Fv .^ily) -ij
-- I iSE GERY, Forest :r--:ct- Technrl,-Iist
Division oTTiin.er Grcrth .1 Utilization Fc1ati:r^
nr.a- wood, because of its chara2teristlcs and av: ii-i!ity, .
arouse ccrni durable interest i-. the Ur.ita-l States as a source cf u-zful
naterlal. It :cr.es from a trcridQl .enus :;r as Virola, vhih-r. a
censider-b-le rn-.rer of species. The woods :: far as cr'-Zei.t knovir-le
goes, arc c'r.:iicrdd to be much alike (4).z
Ccr~v.on: '.'.--. a:
The following names are acplicd to the tr.'s ar. w-ics of the ruu
Virola in the various :ourl.ries as i ca.'
Acajou Triridad Ar-. :: :. r-'i
Arbre a su-if Guianas Arv:re ic sebo i
?aboer. n .ar'n.s B.cc.K edoe Oi-
Batoer.hcut Cuiar.nas ....--l.tri ..s
Bab'in-huiu G-uiir.as Bali Guia-as
Ban ,k U. S. Trade Brit. Hcr.-i. -r7-k .Iar Brit. H-r-J.
-astard ?rnak Brit. Hornd.. =:'iba Brazil
iui Brazil =icu2L: a.su .rr:il
x-Ltainet e at .'no, Wis., in c- *e ration with t.- :.i"'rity oc
ais cc ns .
-'-derlined n.wnberr in parenthesis ref-.r- to the list "'--: r:--'::-.
at the and of the report.
oert. No. 2018
g-izult :'-:'T= :son
Bicuiba branca Brazil
Bicuiba mirim Brazil
Cacao de monte Ec.
Carnaticaro rojo Venezuela
C-uala caspi Peru
Frutadorado Costa Rica, Panama
Hill dalli Guianas
Mahban U. S. Trade
Mattoe moenba Guianas
Euscadier fou Guatemala
Bicuiba cheiros Brazil
Bicuiba vermelha Brazil
Camaticaro blanco Venezuela
Cumala blanca Peru
Guinguaamadou de monte Guianas
Ira rosa Costa Rica
Kwatta Lesser Antilles; Trinidad;
Guianas; S. Ven.; N. Brazil
Malagueta de montana Panama
Mouchigo rouge Guianas
Muscadier a suif Guianas
Palo de sangre Guat.; Hond., Nic.
Saint Jean rouge Guianas
Ucuuba vermelha Brazil
Sangre Guat., Hond., Nic.
Ucuuba branch Brazil
Wild nutmeg Trinidr.d
Distribution and lHibltat
The 38 or more species3 of the genui Virola are found in tropical
Central and South America, throughout the ranne of the family -risticaceae,
except in Mexico. They rarely occur at the higher elevations in the Andes,
flourishing primarily in the nixed hardwood forests of the lowlands. Their
distribution Includes some of the Lesser Antilles, Trinidad, the ;uianas,
Southern Venezuela, Northern Brazil in the states of Amnaz:naz, coastal Para,
especially the Amazon estuary (which is inundated by the Atlantic tides),
Maranhno, Northeastern Ceara, Para, Matto Grosso, Goyaz, and the northern
half of Sao Paulo. Some species grow in the rather dry woods of the
"Campos" regions. In Central America the range is from 2ritish Honduras
and Guatemala to Panama.
The genus Virola includes small, medium-sized, and large type species.
The bark of some species of this genus (Virola) is tapped for an
astringent sap, one of the commercial kinos. This is bright yellow at
first but turns red as it hardens.
Flowers and Fruit (Nuts)
The seeds of Virola are rich in oil (4, 2) and are used for making
candles and soap. They present an attractive appearance because of their
shining brown surface and the white, pink, or red lace-like aril (uppcndage
The fruits of the related species (Myristica fragrans Houtt.) of the
Moluccas and Grenada (Windward Islands) (introduced) are the source of the
spices nutmeg and mace (8).
3The most widely distributed species is Virola surinamensis (Rol.) '.arb.
(Kwratta). Other well known species are V. sebifera Aubl., V. koschnyi
"arb. = V. merendonis Pittier.
Roe t, e. 2.1
The color of the wood of the Virolas varies from pale brown when
fresh to pinkish or deep reddish brown, often with a purplish hue. It
somewhat resembles Spanish cedar (5). The sapwood is lighter in color than
the heartwood and may or may not be sharply demarcated from it.
The wood is mostly of moderate density. The specific gravity ranges
from 0.60 to 0.75. and the weight from about 27 to 47 pounds per cubic foot
when air dry.
Texture, Grain, and Figure
The wood has a medium texture; pores on the longitudinal surfaces
are visible as fine grooves without magnification.
The wood is ordinarily straight grained.
"A plain wood."
Some tests of banak.4 from British Honduras were made in 1923 on a
log 18 inches in diameter and 9 feet long at the Imperial Institute in
London (2). These indicated that the strength values for air-dry material
(about 12 percent moisture content) compare favorably with United States
basswood, a species of much lower density.
The wood is very subject to attacks by borers if it is allowed to
remain in the forest after it is felled. It is probably not resistant to
decay by wood-destroying fungi.
This material was described as a species of Myristica, a genu.s close to
Virola with wood described as very similar and adIlttedly so-icifh.t
decayed and not positively identified in the forest,
llept. No. 20:--
Banak is said to dry without serious warping or checking:, t: holds
its shape well.
"It cuts easily with hand and power saws and a good surface is ob-
tainnable with jack and smoothing planes, both along and across the ;-rain.
Good clear holes are readily obtained with brad awl, g imlet, center bit,
and. t'dst drill, without tendency to split. Nails and screws can be driven
into the wood easily without splitting it and hold fairly well. It cuts
with facility in a mortising machine and works easily 'Ath gole-p and
chisel. The vood turns satisfactorily, though the fibers tear slightly,
and a good finish is obtainable. It absorbs glue well, can be stained
without difficulty to resemble mahogany fairly well and gives satisfactory
results in polishing and varnishing. It holds its place when manufactured,
does not warp or check, and is very free from many knots and other defects"
Both veneers and solid lumber have proved satisfactory for general
utility purposes. One use is for drawer bottoms (j).
The early attempts at marketing the Virolas were not highly success-
ful. One of the difficulties came from "pin worm" damage from boring
beetles going deeply into the wood soon after it was cut. Q.,-ick removal
from the forest after felling appears to be eszcntial. The dry wood was
not found to be attacked by the borers.
Rept. :-c. /'.
References L',VERSIT OF FL ORIDA
3 1262 08924 2662
(1) ABRATT, 0. A.
1933. Systemtic Anatomy of the Woods' of the Myristicaceae.
Tropical Woods35:6-48. Yale Forest School, New Haven, Conn.
(2) II.1PSIAL INSTITUTE (Report of Director)
1923. British Honduras Timbers, Part 1. Bull. of the Imperial
Institute 21(4):570-572, London.
(3) PFEIFFER, J. PH.
1926. De Houtsoorten Van Suriname, pp. 166-169 (illus. ).
(4) RECORD, S. J. and HESS, R. W.
1943. Timbers of the New World. Yale University Press,
hew Haven, Conn.
(5) RODDIS LUMBER AMD VTE CO.
1939. Characteristics of Modern Woods, p. 8. Marshfield, Vis.
(6) SMITH., A. C.
1938. Distribution of the Myristicaceae. Brittonia 2(5):396.
(7) WsHMER, C.
1929. Die Pflanzenstoffe, Erster Band., pp. 348-349.
G. Fischer, Jena. (Refs. on chemical constitution of Virolas.)
(8) WHITAKER, C. H.
1946. War gave "Nutmeg Isle" bigger spice-trade role. Foreign
Commerce Weekly 25(8):8-9, 33-34, Nov. 23.
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