Botanical Name

Metopium Browneii

Other Common Names

Black Poison Wood, Honduras Walnut, Caribbean Rosewood.


Central America to Mexico

The Tree

The species is reported to grow to the size of a shrub or a fairly large tree. Trees are capable of reaching a height of about 50 feet, with a trunk diameter of about 21 inches. Sap contained in the thin, reddish brown bark is reported to be caustic and should be avoided.


Heartwood color is highly varied, with red, orange, and brown contrasted with darker stripes of blackish brown.


Has a fine texture and small pores. The grain is usually straight but can also be wild and wavy with interlocking.

Working Properties

The wood is overall fairly easy to work, with the exception of planing/surfacing, which can present some problems if the grain is interlocked. Glues and finishes well, though because of its density and tendency to split, nails and screws should have holes pre-bored.


Fine Furniture; Cabinetry; Turnery; Boat Decking; Humidors; Jewelry Boxes.

Interesting Fact

Chechen gets its aleternate name, black poisonwood, from its toxic sap that turns black and causes severe skin reactions similar to poison ivy. The wood itself is safe to handle.