Izabal Wood Co.


Hormigo / Platymiscium dimorphandrum

Local Names
Palo de Marimba, Palo de Hormiga, Hormigo, Cachimbo, Marimbano.
Distribution & Tree

Hormigo and its sister species of the Platymiscium genus are found throughout tropical America from southern Mexico to the Brazilian Amazon and Trinidad. It predominates in high jungle and medium semideciduous forests with well-drained soils. The tree can reach 25 meters in height and over 100 centimeters in diameter. The closely-related granadillo (Platymiscium yucatanum) is more commonly found in the drier zone comprising the Peten department, southern Mexico and Belize, whereas hormigo is more prevalent in Izabal. The name orange agate is sometimes applied in English-speaking markets. Hormigo is not to be confused with granadillo rojo, which is a true rosewood (Dalbergia tucurensis) and strictly regulated under CITES rules.

Wood Appearance
The wood can vary from bright red to a darker reddish to purplish brown with darker stripes. It possesses a medium to high luster, a straight to wavy grain, and typically medium to fine texture. Recently cut wood has a pleasant sweet odor.
Processing Properties
Hormigo is relatively easy to work with machine tools, finishes smoothly, and takes a brilliant polish. It sculpts and machines well. It turns and glues well. Tungsten-caribe or Stellite-tipped cutting implements are indicated.
Strength & Durability
Hormigo is among the hardest timbers in tropical Guatemala, comparable to Brazilian cherry and cumaru. The heartwood is highly resistant to attack by decay rot (class 1 according to ASTM D 2017-71 and EN 350-1) and insects, including a high resistance to dry-wood termites. It can be in contact with the ground.
Wood Uses
Fine furniture and cabinet work, decorative veneers, beams, musical instruments, flooring, tabletops, sculpture, turnery, joinery, and specialty items (violin bows, billiard cues).
Ecological & Social Importance

In Guatemala, hormigo is sometimes called palo de marimba due to its wood being prized for the construction of marimbas, the country’s national instrument and a symbol of pride and resistance.  Eric Meier, author of the Wood Database, ranks hormigo as his favorite lesser-known species among thousands: “This wood is uber-colorful, with many pieces having rich reds and oranges mixed in with darker brown and black veins of exquisiteness. Some woods are loved for their color, others are loved for their streaks and stripes. Macacauba has both.”

Reference Species
Technical CharacteristicsHormigoGonçalo AlvesIpê
Janka Hardnesskgf1,2251,0261,592
Bending Stiffness (Modulus of Elasticity)GPa19.616.622.1
Bending Strength (Modulus of Rupture)MPa147.2117.0177.0
Crushing StrengthMPa80.774.293.8
Shrinkage, Radial%2.8%4.2%5.9%
Shrinkage, Tangential%4.2%7.8%7.2%
Shrinkage, Volumetric%7.2%11.2%12.4%
T/R Ratio2.51.91.2
Values determined at 12% humidity - Provided for reference only







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 de Maderas Tropicales de México". 2012
"Fichas de Propiedades Tecnológicas de las
Maderas." Proyecto ITTO PD 385/05 Rev. 4 (I,F.)
Chagane "Catalogo de Arboles." Red de Viveros de Biodiversidad (México).
Granadillo. ITTO Lesser Known Species.
Guayacán Trébol. Laboratorio de Productos Forestales. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. 2018.
Meier, E. “The Top 10 Woods You’ve Never Heard Of.” The Wood Database.
Macacauba Technical Sheet. The Wood Database.
Trebol. Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheets. Forest Products Laboratory. USDA Forest Service.
Velásquez Méndez. "Especies Forestales Comerciales del Peten, Guatemala." 2014
Vester, H., Navarro-Martínez, A. "Fichas Ecológicas arboles maderables de Quintana Roo." Forest Ecology and Management, Tropical Forest Ecology. 2007.