Santos Mahogany

Botanical Name

Myroxylon balsamum

Other Common Names

Balsamo, Cabreuva, Nabal, Palo de balsam, Tolu, Incienso, Quina


Southern Mexico and Central and South America

The Tree

It generally grows to heights of 50 to 65 ft. It has a clear bole up to 3/4 its total length with a trunk diameter varying from 18 to 36 in.


The heartwood is reddish-brown becoming deep red or somewhat purplish with exposure and is sharply demarcated from the white sapwood.


It is fairly uniform to stripped with a medium to high luster. The grain is typically interlocked with ripple marks and a medium texture.

Working Properties

It is moderately difficult to work but it can be finish smoothly with a high natural polish and it turns well. Though non-siliceous, there is more than the usual dulling of cutters. It does not stain or glue well.


Fine furniture, cabinetmaking, interior trim, turnery, flooring, railroad ties, and rollers for crushing sugarcane. It is well known for its resin, which is used in salves, antiseptics, cough syrup flavoring and especially in perfume.


Santos Mahogany is not a true mahogany. It should be in the mid-range for an imported timber; comparing similarly to other exotic hardwoods used in flooring. Available in lumber a specialty dealers.