Izabal Wood Co.


Irayol / Genipa americana

Local Names
Jagua, Genipap, Marmalade Box, Brir, Angelina, Caruto, Arasaloe, Tapoeripa, Palo Colorado, Huitoc, Genipapeiro, Juniper.
Distribution & Tree
Genip or jagua (irayol in Guatemala) is widely distributed throughout tropical America, from the West Indies and Mexico to Argentina. The tree reaches heights of 21 meters and diameters up to 50 cm. Its wide distribution may reflect that the species was propagated by humans in pre-Columbian times for its multiple uses as wood, medicine, adornment and food.
Wood Appearance
Its heartwood is light yellowish-brown sometimes with a slight pinkish or lavender hue. It possesses a medium luster, fine and uniform texture and usually straight grain. Narrow bands of darker streaks often create attractive figuring. It’s a good substitute for birch, maple and ash. Quartersawn wood may have attractive striped figure highlighting narrow bands of darker wood. When flatsawn, it often has a ribbon stripe.
Processing Properties
The wood is easy to work with hand tools and machines well. It works and machines easily, yielding results comparable or better than mahogany and teak. It glues satisfactorily and should finish without difficulty. It readily accepts lacquer and paint. Wood can be peeled to produce tight and smooth veneers. It’s considered a worthy substitute for ash, maple and birch. It seasons well with minimal warping and no surface checking. It takes screws and glues well and takes stains and finishes without difficulty.
Strength & Durability
Genip is strong, heavy, hard and resilient. However, it is susceptible to attack by dry-wood termites, borers, and fungi. Both heartwood and sapwood are reported to respond well to preservation treatments using either open tank or pressure-vacuum systems.
Wood Uses
Furniture and cabinet work, bent work, turnery, flooring, decorative veneer, flooring, door frames and cabinetwork, plywood, rifle stocks, shoe lasts, barrel hoops, boxes and packing cases, plows and tool handles.
Ecological & Social Importance

Genip’s fruit produces a sour, refreshing drink. When immature, it yields an indelible stain. The fruit is eaten as a remedy for jaundice in El Salvador. It is a common practice in Puerto Rico to cut up the fruits, steep them in water until there is a little fermentation, then add flavoring and drink the infusion as a cold remedy. The juice expressed from the leaves is commonly given as a fever reducer in Central America. The pulverized seeds are emetic and caustic. 

The juice of the unripe fruit is colorless but oxidizes on exposure to the air and gradually turns light brown, then blue-black, and finally jet black. It has been commonly employed by South American Indians to paint their faces and bodies for adornment and to repel insects; and to dye clothing, hammocks, utensils and basket materials a bluish-purple. The dye is indelible on the skin for 15 to 20 days.

Because the fruit and its infusion have unusually good keeping quality, Puerto Rican scientists investigated the possible presence of antibiotic principles and proved the existence of antibiotic activity in all parts of the fruit. In 1964, scientists isolated and identified two new antibiotic cyclopentoid monoterpenes, named aptly genipic and genipinic acids.

Reference Species (by Janka Hardness)
Technical CharacteristicsJaguaWhite OakNorthern Red Oak
Janka Hardnesskgf640612553
Bending Stiffness (Modulus of Elasticity)GPa11.812.212.1
Bending Strength (Modulus of Rupture)MPa119.3102.399.2
Crushing StrengthMPa51.450.846.8
Shrinkage, Radial%4.6%5.6%4.0%
Shrinkage, Tangential%9.1%10.5%8.6%
Shrinkage, Volumetric%13.5%16.3%13.7%
T/R Ratio2.01.92.2
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
Catálogo virtual de flora del Valle de Aburrá, Universidad EIA
Francis, John K. 1993. “Genipa americana L. Jagua, genipa. Rubiaceae. Madder family.” New Orleans, LA: USDA Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; 5 p. (SO-ITF-SM; 58).
Genipa americana. Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheets. Forest Products Laboratory. USDA Forest Service.
Genipa Americana. World Agroforestry Centre database.
Genipap. Morton, J. 1987. Genipap. p. 441–443. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.
Jagua. Laboratorio de Productos Forestales. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. 2018.
Longwood, F. "Puerto Rican Woods: Their Machining, Seasoning and Related Characteristics." Agriculture Handbook No. 205. USDA.