Izabal Wood Co.


Medallo / Vatairea lundellii

Local Names

Danto, Angelim Amargoso, Faveira, Amargoso, Amargo Amargo, Arisauru, Yaksaru, Mora, Mari-Mari, Guerra, Gele Kabbes, Marupa del Bajo

Distribution & Tree
Bitterwood (bitter angelim), known as both medallo and danto in Guatemala, is widely distributed across the Neotropics, from southern Mexico, along the Atlantic region of Central America, and through Venezuela to central Brazil. It thrives in chalky and clayey soils. The tree may grow up to 30 meters, attaining diameters of 80 cm with a round buttressed trunk.
Wood Appearance
The wood is bright yellow when freshly sawn and mellows into a brown with red, yellow or olive hues as it dries sometimes with pink veins. It’s a dense timber at 750 kg/m2 with clearly demarcated sapwood and a straight or interlocked grain. It has a coarse texture. The wood has a bitter taste, inspiring the local names of faveira amargosa and palo amargo in Brazil and Mexico, respectively.
Processing Properties
Machining is good and planing is easy although raised grain during planing may occur. Slicing, turning, sanding and finishing are all good (peeling is not recommended). Nailing and gluing are good, but pre-boring is recommended. Due to its silica content (circa 0.2%), Stellite-tipped and tungsten-carbide tools are recommended. The dust during machining may affect some people.
Strength & Durability
Danto’s heartwood is quite durable and stable. Due to a moderate susceptibility to fungi and dry wood borers, treatment is recommended, especially if exposed to temporary humidification. Susceptibility is limited to its sapwood which is well demarcated.
Wood Uses
Danto is used for high-class furniture, stairs, paneling, fine and industrial flooring, formwork and sliced veneer. It can be used for exteriors, including tables, pergolas, benches, and decking. Construction uses include frames, rails, skirting boards, treads and others requiring medium to high weight-bearing strength.
Ecological & Social Importance
Bitterwood is a nitrogen-fixing species of the Fabaceae family. It thrives in chalky and clayey soils unsuited for agricultural, playing an important role in soil regeneration in degraded areas. It is also an important producer of melliferous (honey) flowers.
Reference Species
Technical CharacteristicsBitterwoodSugar MapleWhite Oak
Janka Hardnesskgf634658612
Bending Stiffness (Modulus of Elasticity)GPa19.512.612.2
Bending Strength (Modulus of Rupture)MPa99.6109.0102.3
Crushing StrengthMPa58.054.050.8
Shrinkage, Radial%4.5%4.8%5.6%
Shrinkage, Tangential%7.8%9.9%10.5%
Shrinkage, Volumetric%NA14.7%16.3%
T/R Ratio1.72.11.9
Values determined at 12% humidity







Values are for reference only and cannot be guaranteed. Wood is a natural material and physical and mechanical properties may vary depending on age, genetics, and other factors. We encourage customers to consult the references provided in the bibliography. For further explanations of wood’s key technical characteristics, an excellent resource is the Wood Database with articles on Density (average dried weight); Janka hardness; Elastic Modulus; Rupture Modulus; Crushing Strength; Radial, Tangential and Volumetric Shrinkage.

ReferencesView Source
Amargo-Amargo. "Maderas de Panamá: Catálogo Maderas de Panamá" WWF.
Amargoso. "Fichas técnicas sobre características
tecnológicas y usos de maderas
comercializadas en México." Tomo II. CONAFOR.
Bitter angelim. Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheets. Forest Products Laboratory. USDA Forest Service.
Blanco Flórez, J. "Caracterización de las 30 Especies Forestales maderables más Movilizadas en Colombia Provenientes del Bosque Natural." Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible. 2020
Blanco Flórez, J. "Caracterización de las 30 Especies Forestales maderables más Movilizadas en Colombia Provenientes del Bosque Natural." Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible. 2020
Echenique-Manrique, R. and R.A. Plumptre. "A Guide to the Use of Mexican and Belizean Timbers." Tropical Forestry Papers 20. 1990.
Faveira amargosa. Data Sheets. “The main technological characteristics of 245 tropical wood species.” Tropix 7. CIRAD.
FSC Denmark Lesser Known Timer Species
Gutiérrez, L. "Como elegir maderas según los usos en arquitectura y construcción."
Hogdon, B. "Meeting the New Global Demand for Lesser-Known Species: Developing Community Forestry Enterprise A Case Study of Communities in The Maya Biosphere Reserve, (Petén, Guatemala)." Rainforest Alliance. Nov 2015, p. 9.
Hout Database
ITTO Lesser Used Species
Laboratorio de Ecologia de Poblaciones y Comunidades Tropicales
Mari mari. "Maderas del Peru." Promdex/WWF/USAID/INIA
Mari Mari. "Maderas del Peru." Promperu Exportaciones.
Palo Amargo. "Catálogo de Arboles." Red de Viveros de Biodiversidad (México).
Rocco Lahr, F. et al. “Full Characterization of Vatairea sp Wood Species.” International Journal of Materials Engineering. 2016, 6(3): 92-96.