Izabal Wood Co.


Breadnut / Brosimum alicastrum

Local Names
Sande, Berba, Guaimaro, Congona, Arbol de Leche, Muiratinga, Capomo, Freguo, Hichoso, Lechero, Masica, Ojoche, Ojushte, Vaco, Tillo
Distribution & Tree
Ramon is found from southern Mexico through Central America into Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil as well as Cuba and Jamaica. The tree reaches heights over 40 meters and trunk diameters of 1.5 meters. The trunk is cylindrical and straight. In the Yucatan, it grows in calcareous soil with outcropping rocks. It is distributed in wetter sections of dry tropical forest, such as river canyons, as well as in humid tropical and premontane forests up to 800 meters above sea level.
Wood Appearance

Ramon is a yellowish white or beige without strong demarcation between sapwood and heartwood. It can have reddish streaks in its heartwood. With a fine to medium texture, the wood has a slightly interlocked grain. It has medium to high gloss and sometimes overlapping arches, stripes, and bands with a golden gleam. On international markets, ramon is a considered a substitute for ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), is now listed on CITES Appendix II as an endangered species.

Processing Properties
It yields a beautiful finish and polish. Figured wood is sliced for face veneers without difficulty. It’s fairly easy to machine but requires proper cutting tools due to silica content up to 0.68%. It glues and takes varnish well. It requires pre-drilling.
Strength & Durability
It’s a heavy, dense wood with good stability due to low internal fiber tension. It’s capable of supporting heavy loads. With treatment, durability is low due to vulnerability to fungi and insects. Penetration with boric acid (2,000 to 2,500 ppm) through submersion is effective as is pressure treatment.
Wood Uses
Ramon is used for furniture, doors and window frames, stairs, interior joinery, light carpentry, sliced veneer, veneers for plywood faces, molding, interior paneling, flooring and loading platforms. It can be used for tool handles, piles, columns, beams, railroad crossties, and concrete wall formwork.
Ecological & Social Importance

The tree was important to the Mayan people who boiled or toasted and consumed its seed, which is high in starch, fat, vitamins A and C, and mineral content, prompting its appellation as Mayanut or breadnut. It’s called iximche in some Mayan languages, meaning literally “maize tree,” reflecting its importance especially in lean times. The ancient Mayans cultivated it enthusiastically and it is still found in high concentrations around ancient Mayan settlements. One tree can yield around 29 kg of seeds and some forests have up to 125 trees per hectare. Ramon’s sap is edible with a pleasant taste and can yield a nutritious vegetable milk. The leaves and sap are used to stimulate breast milk production. The sap is rich in alkaloids – strong chemical substances which can be effective in fighting illnesses. In the Amazon, sweet amapá (Brosimum parinarioides) is traditionally used to treat respiratory conditions and gastritis and to promote the growth of scar tissue. 

Ramon’s leaves remain green through the dry season and form an important source of forage for cattle, pigs and chicken. They contain around 13% protein, rich in the amino acids lysine, arginine, tryptophan and valine. Cows fed ramon leaves increased milk production by 15-20%.

Reference Species
Technical CharacteristicsRamonHickory (Shagbark)Sugar Maple
Janka Hardnesskgf804853658
Bending Stiffness (Modulus of Elasticity)GPa16.414.912.6
Bending Strength (Modulus of Rupture)MPa96.3139.3109.0
Crushing StrengthMPa64.063.554.0
Shrinkage, Radial%5.8%7.0%4.8%
Shrinkage, Tangential%8.2%10.5%9.9%
Shrinkage, Volumetric%12.2%16.7%14.7%
T/R Ratio1.41.52.1
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 Maderas Tropicales de México." PNUD/GEF/Rainforest Alliance.
"Catálogo de Maderas Tropicales de México." PNUD/GEF/Rainforest Alliance.
"Maderas del Peru." Promdex/WWF/USAID/INIA
“Fruit Trees and Useful Plants in Amazonian Life.” Non-Wood Forest Products 20. Shanley, P et al (Eds). FAO/CIFRPPI.
“Propiedades y Usos de la Madera de Masica.” CUPROFOR/ITTO. 1999.
Berba. "Maderas de Panama: Catálogo Maderas de Panamá" WWF.
Bilibil. "Maderas de Colombia." GFTN. WWF
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
Brosimum spp. Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheets. Forest Products Laboratory. USDA Forest Service.
Brosimum. Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheets. Forest Products Laboratory. USDA Forest Service.
Capomo. "Fichas técnicas sobre características
tecnológicas y usos de maderas
comercializadas en México." Tomo II.
Cordero, J. Boshier, D. "Arboles de Centroamerica: Un manual para extensionistas." Oxford/Catie. 2003
Forster, R. et al. "Comunidades forestales y el mercadeo de maderas tropicales poco comerciales de Mesoamérica." 2002.
FSC Denmark Lesser Known Timber Species
Guaimaro. Laboratorio de Productos Forestales. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. 2018.
Gutierrez, L. "Como elegir maderas segun los usos en arquitectura y construccion."
ITTO Lesser Used Species.
Manchinga. "Maderas del Peru." Promperu Exportaciones.
Ojoche. "Guía de Especies Forestales de Nicaragua." Orgut Consulting AB. MARENA/INAFOR. 2002
Puertas, S.P. "Manual de transformación de la madera." May 2013. ITTO/AIDER.
Ramon. "Catálogo de Arboles." Red de Viveros de Biodiversidad.
Ramon. "Fichas de Propiedades Tecnológicas de las
Maderas." Proyecto ITTO PD 385/05 Rev. 4 (I,F.)
Richter, H.G. et al. "Fichas de Propiedades Tecnológicas de las Maderas." Proyecto ITTO PD 385/05 Rev. 4 (I,F.), 2012
Sande. Data Sheets. “The main technological characteristics of 245 tropical wood species.” Tropix 7. CIRAD.
Sande. Vignote Peña "Principales Maderas Tropicales Utilizadas en España." Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Vázquez-Yanes, C., A. I. Batis Muñoz, M. I. Alcocer Silva, M. Gual Díaz y C. Sánchez Dirzo. 1999. Árboles y arbustos potencialmente valiosos para la restauración ecológica y la reforestación. Reporte técnico del proyecto J084. CONABIO - Instituto de Ecología, UNAM.
Vozzo JA. (ed) "Manual de Semillas de Arboles Tropicales." 2010.