Lecythis spp.

Monkey Pot


 Family: Lecythidaceae


Other Common Names: Coco (Panama), Coco mono, Coco cristal (Colombia), Coco de mono, Olla de mono (Venezuela), Monkey Pot (Guyana), Kwattapatoe (Surinam), Castanha sapucaia, Sapucaia vermelha (Brazil), Machin-mango (Peru).


 Distribution: Widely distributed from southeastern Brazil through northern South America to Costa Rica. Common in the Amazon lowlands and coastal mountain forests of Brazil.


The Tree: Size varies with species but may reach height of 130 ft with straight cylindrical boles clear to 60 ft and more, diameters of 5 to 6 ft are common; usually 20 to 30 in. Stems are somewhat buttressed or shallowly fluted.


 The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood light to dark salmon; sapwood creamy yellow. Texture medium fine and uniform; luster mostly low but high in some species; grain fairly straight slightly interlocked; without distinctive odor or taste.


 Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varying with species from 0.61 to 0.93; air-dry density 46 to 69 pcf.


Mechanical Properties: (First two sets of data based on the 2-in. standard; third set on 1-in. standard.)
Moisture content          Bending strength   Modulus of elasticity   Maximum crushing strength
(%)                                          (Psi)                 (1,000 Psi)                     (Psi)
green (73)                               18,340             2,890                          8,880
12%                                        27,540             3,380                          13,280
12% (44)                                14,100             1,840                          NA
12% (24)                                27,000             3,240                          13,500

Janka side hardness for denser species 2,430 lb for green material and 3,100 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material may reach 300 to 400 in.-lb (5/8-in. specimen).


 Drying and Shrinkage: Rated as easy to moderately difficult to air-season depending on species; a slow to rapid drying rate is reported. Warp and checking ranged from slight to moderate. No data on dry kiln schedules available. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 6.0%; tangential 7.6%; volumetric 13.4%. These values are low for wood of this high density.


Working Properties: The wood is moderately difficult to work because of its high density; however, surfaces obtained in planing, boring, sawing, and shaping were smooth and good to excellent. Silica content varies with species and dulling of cutters is also variable.


 Durability: The wood is reported to be very durable upon exposure to both a white-rot and a brown-rot fungus confirming its reputation for high resistance to decay. Heartwood is also highly resistant to dry-wood termites. Reported to be moderately resistant to marine borer attack.


Preservation: The wood is highly resistant to preservation treatments.


 Uses: Heavy construction, ship keels and beams, railroad crossties, industrial flooring, uses requiring high impact resistance (wagon wheels, tool handles), turnery. L. paraensis produces a highly favored edible nut.

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