Izabal Wood Co.


Wild Tamarind / Dialium guianense

Local Names
Canillo, Jutahy, Ironwood, Paque, Guapaque, Palo Lacandon, Paleto, Comenegro, Hauso, Cacho, Huitillo, Jataí-Peba, Parajuba, Huitillo
Distribution & Tree
Tamarindo is a species found throughout the lowland tropical Caribbean forests of Guatemala. The tree’s range extends from southern Mexico to Peru, Brazil and Guyana. It’s often left untouched by local woodsmen due to its extremely hard wood that can damage chainsaws and cutting equipment. It thrives in clayey, chalky, and lateritic soils the humid tropics. In Izabal, we’ve observed that it prefers montane forest terrain around 300-500 meters above sea level whose topography permits good drainage. It grows up to 45 meters, attaining trunk widths of 1.5 meters. Boles are cylindrical and clear to 20 meters.
Appearance & Form
The heartwood is a coffee brown, often with red undertones, with a light grain and medium luster. It features interwoven lighter and darker grains. Boasting among the highest wood densities in our forests, it is often referred to as an ironwood or quebracho (axe breaker). It’s highly resistant to termite and woodborer attack, decay, and rot, even when used in direct ground contact. It has a life of 10 to 15 years for exposed outdoor use.
Processing Properties
Tamarindo can be difficult to cut and plane by hand and machines should be equipped with tungsten-carbide or Stellite-tipped blades due to a high silica content (up to 1.8%). With appropriate blades, machining is efficient. Treatment is generally not necessary. It delivers an excellent finish. Once milled and dried, tamarindo is quite stable in a variety of environmental conditions. It is very resistant to the elements and capable of bearing loads, making it highly suitable for outdoor heavy construction, such as industrial floors and docks.
Wood Uses
Tamarindo is used for roof components, posts, beams, columns, decking, flooring, turnery, windows and doors, tool handles, garden furniture, crossties and outdoor cladding. It can be used for marine pilings, bridges, docks and submerged sea walls (groins). Its tonal properties and rich brown hue make it a suitable wood for instrument components, including backs, sides, and fingerboards of guitars.
Non-Timber Uses
The pulp around Tamarindo’s seed has a fragrance reminiscent of tamarind (Tamarindus indica), whose pulp is used worldwide for sweet and savory dishes and juice. This resemblance is likely the reason for the tree’s name in Guatemala. Monkeys and other animals are attracted to its pulp and leaves.
Reference Species
Technical CharacteristicsTamarindoIpêShagbark Hickory
Janka Hardnesskgf1,5871,515853
Bending Stiffness (Modulus of Elasticity)GPa17.622.114.9
Bending Strength (Modulus of Rupture)MPa200.4177.0139.3
Crushing StrengthMPa102.093.863.5
Shrinkage, Radial%2.8%5.9%7.0%
Shrinkage, Tangential%6.1%7.2%10.5%
Shrinkage, Volumetric%13.3%12.4%16.7%
T/R Ratio2.21.21.5
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
“Propiedades y Usos de la Madera de Paleto.” CUPROFOR/ITTO. 1999.
Dialium Guianense. Cordero, J. Boshier, D. "Arboles de Centroamerica: Un manual para extensionistas." Oxford/Catie. 2003
Dialium guianense. Laboratorio de Ecología de Poblaciones y Comunidades Tropicales, UNAM
Guapaque. "Fichas técnicas sobre características
tecnológicas y usos de maderas
comercializadas en México." Tomo II. CONAFOR.
Guapaque. Vignote Peña "Principales Maderas Tropicales Utilizadas en España."
Jutahy. Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheets. Forest Products Laboratory. USDA Forest Service.
Moya Roque, R. “El aserrío de Dialium guianense (Aubl) Sandwith en Costa Rica.” Madera Bosques. 4(1):41-51, Jan 1998.
Paque. "Catálogo de Arboles." Red de Viveros de Biodiversidad.
Tamarindo. "Maderas de Panama: Catálogo Maderas de Panamá" WWF.
Tamarindo. Laboratorio de Productos Forestales.
Universidad Nacional de Colombia. 2018.
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.