Botanical Name

Trophis racemosa

Other Common Names:

Catalox, Wamara, Bannia, Mexican Ebony


Southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.

The Tree

Size varies considerably with species, some reaching heights of 110 ft with trunk diameters commonly to 24 in., but reaching 36 inches.


Heartwood is a dark reddish brown to nearly black: sometimes with a strong purple hue. Sapwood is sharply demarcated and is a pale yellowish white.


Has very fine pores and a fine texture. The grain is usually straight, but can also be irregular or interlocked. A curly or wavy grain pattern is sometimes seen as well.

Working Properties

Katalox is typically considered difficult to work on account of its high density. The wood has a moderate to high blunting effect on cutters, and if there is interlocked grain present, tearout can occur during planing. Can be troublesome to glue because of its high density and natural oils present.


Instruments, bows, inlays, fine furniture and cabinetry, parquet flooring, turnings, and other small specialty items. Suggested as a substitute for Ebony.


Rare, Expect prices to be in the mid to upper range for an imported tropical hardwood.