Jatobá or Guapinol (Hymenaea courbaril), is a tree common to the Caribbean, Central, and South America. It is a hardwood that is used for furniture, flooring and decorative purposes.
Although Jatoba is sometimes referred to as Brazilian Cherry or South American Cherry, it is not a cherry tree and it is in no way, botanically or otherwise related to the Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), a very common American hardwood. Depending on the locale, Jatoba is also known as Brazilian Copal, South American Locust, the West Indian Locust Tree, or Stinking Toe, Old Man's Toe or Stinktoe (because of the unpleasant odor of the edible pulp inside its seed pods) and various other names.
Jatoba produces an orange, resinous, sticky gum that converts to amber through a chemical process that requires millions of years. Amber of million year old Hymenaea trees have provided scientists with many clues to its prehistoric presence on Earth as well as to the often extinct insects and plants encased in it. (As shown in the Jurassic Park movies.)
Jatoba is a very hard wood measuring 5.6 on the Brinell scale or 2350 lbf on the Janka scale, approximate measurements of hardness. For comparison, Douglas Fir measures 660 lbf, White Oak 1360 lbf, and Brazilian Walnut 3800 lbf on the Janka scale.
Jatoba wood features a tan/salmon color with black accent stripes that over time turns to a deep rich red color.
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