Izabal Wood Co.


Black Cabbagebark / Lonchocarpus castilloi

Local Names
Balché, Chaperno, Macaratú, Sindjaplé, Barbasco.
Distribution & Tree
Manchiche is found throughout tropical Mexico Central America and the Caribbean, particularly in high and medium semi-deciduous forests, often on open hillsides plains at low to moderate elevations. Thrives in well-drained limestone soils, within Guatemala it is found mainly in Peten but also in Alta Verapaz, Quiche and Izabal. Manchiche is a nitrogen fixer and often regenerates densely in areas where the forest has been disturbed due to copious seeding. Trees reach up to 30 meters with trunk diameters ranging up to 100 centimeters with clear boles more than half of total tree height.
Wood Appearance
The heartwood ranges from cream-brown to dark reddish-brown. The heartwood often has thin stripes of lighter color. Its texture is moderately coarse with a low to medium luster and a straight to interlocked grain. Tangentially sawn surfaces can produce an attractive, striated figure alternating between darker and lighter fibers.
Processing Properties
Despite its hardness, manchiche is somewhat easy to work with mechanical tools and has a low silica content. Sanding, turning and planing may be complicated by its interlocked grain. Carbide-tipped implements are recommended.
Strength & Durability
The wood is reported to be very resistant to fungus and insect attack, including termites.
Wood Uses
Heavy construction, decking, flooring, fine furniture, garden furniture, lathed products, tool handles, shipbuilding, and railroad crossties. Decorative veneers can be produced with proper equipment.
Ecological & Social Importance

A natural insecticide called rotenone can be produced from its bark. Unselective in action and quickly biodegrading, rotenone has been shown to kill potato beetles, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, cabbage worms, raspberry beetles, and asparagus beetles, and many other arthropods. It can treat scabies and head lice on humans. It’s speculated that the ancient Maya may have used components of the tree to produce an intoxicating beverage.

Reference Species
Technical CharacteristicsManchicheIpeHickory (Shagbark)
Janka Hardnesskgf1,2721,515853
Bending Stiffness (Modulus of Elasticity)GPa18.922.114.9
Bending Strength (Modulus of Rupture)MPa173.8177.0139.3
Crushing StrengthMPa86.293.863.5
Shrinkage, Radial%3.9%5.9%7.0%
Shrinkage, Tangential%8.2%7.2%10.5%
Shrinkage, Volumetric%13.0%12.4%16.7%
T/R Ratio2.11.21.5
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 de Arboles." Red de Viveros de Biodiversidad.
"Catálogo de Maderas Tropicales de México". 2012
"Fichas de Propiedades Tecnológicas de las
Maderas." Proyecto ITTO PD 385/05 Rev. 4 (I,F.)
Black Cabbage Bark. Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheets. Forest Products Laboratory. USDA Forest Service.
Cordero, J. Boshier, D. "Arboles de Centroamerica: Un manual para extensionistas." Oxford/Catie. 2003
Machiche. ITTO Lesser Known Species.
Machiche. The Wood Database.
Manchiche. The Hout Database.
Silva Guzmán, José Antonio. 2008. Fichas técnicas sobre características y usos de maderas comercializadas en México. Tomo II. Comisión Nacional Forestal (CONAFOR). Guadalajara, Jalisco. México 8.
Velasquez Mendez. "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.