Spanish Cedar

Botanical Name: Cedrela spp. ; Cedro

Family: Meliaceae

Other Common Names: Cedro (Central and South America), Acajou rouge (French West Indies), Cedro rouge (French Guiana), Cedar (Surinam)

Uses: Cigar boxes, wood pencils, wood doors, decorative veneer for wood paneling and plywood.


Distribution: Spanish Cedar occurs from Mexico to Argentina and is found in all countries except Chile. Trees make their best growth on rich, well-drained humid sites but may also compete favorably on drier hillsides; intolerant of water-logged locations.

General Characteristics: Under favorable conditions will reach heights over 100 ft and diameters 3 to 6 ft above the substantial buttresses. Straight cylindrical boles clear for 40 to 60 ft. Heartwood pinkish to reddish brown when freshly cut, becoming red to dark brown, sometimes with a purplish tinge, after exposure; sharply to rather poorly demarcated from the pinkish to white sapwood. Texture is rather fine and uniform to coarse and uneven; grain is usually straight, sometimes interlocked; luster is medium to high and golden; a distinctive cedar odor is usually well pronounced, some specimens with bitter taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) very variable ranging from 0.30 to 0.60, averaging about 0.40; air-dry density ranges from 23 to 47, averaging about 30 pcf.

Working Properties: Spanish Cedar is easy to work with hand and machine tools but somewhat difficult to bore cleanly. Easy to cut into veneer but with some tendency for wooly surfaces to occur; good nailing and gluing properties; stains and finishes well but gums and oils sometimes are a problem in polishing.

Durability: Heartwood is rated as durable but there is some variability with the species; resistant to subterranean and dry-wood termites. Low resistance to attack by marine borers. Wood has excellent weathering characteristics.

Preservation: N/A

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