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Utilitarian to upscale: Peroba rosa is on a straight and narrow path to greater popularity.


Peroba rosa is one of the most commercially important timber trees of Brazil, with uses that range from the utilitarian to the decidedly upscale. Peroba rosa is used in general construction and shipbuilding, joinery, flooring, sash and doors, and interior trim. It is a popular choice for turnery and is used in furniture and cabinetry at all price points, from plain to high-end designs.

Also known as rosa peroba, red paroba, amarello, palo, rosa and amargoso, to name a few, the species has been compared to European beech and American oak and shares many of the same uses, although because of its wide variation in strength--44 to 53 pounds per cubic foot--peroba rosa is not usually considered a candidate for steam bending applications.

Aspidosperma peroba is the species often cited for peroba rosa, but Aspidosperma polyneuron also is Listed as contributing to the supplies. Some reference books simply say related species of Aspidosperma or refer to them as the "peroba group." The peroba group of Aspioderma species grows plentifully in Brazil, especially in the southeastern part of the country, and also is found in Argentina.

A Colorful Species

The wood, with its red to yellowish colored heartwood, is often streaked with purple and brown, though it usually darkens to brown after exposure. The wood can yield beautiful figures, among them fiddleback and bird's-eye, and is often sliced into decorative veneer.

Albert Constantine Jr., author of the book Know Your Woods, calls rosa peroba one of the highly important group of Brazilian timbers, comparable in general utility to the popular oak of the United States. "It is used in great abundance in all kinds of building construction," he wrote.

Constantine Jr. describes the trees as large, with well-formed trunks, growing to heights as tall as 125 feet. "The trees are slender, with sparse foliage and a wrinkled bark, but they stand out in the landscape clearly because of their majestic appearance," he said.

Myles Gilmer, owner of Gilmer Wood Products in Portland, OR, sells peroba rosa lumber, which he said is often named by color. "Various color types of peroba are given different names," he said, among them: peroba preta (rose red with black streaks); peroba muida (red with darker patches); peroba poca (almost white); peroba rajada (light pinkish red with Large black patches); peroba tremida (yellow with golden patches); and peroba revesa (with bird's-eye figuring, similar to bird's-eye maple).

"There is also peroba blanca and peroba nigra. Peroba rosa, which is a kind of pastel pink, is the most common of the peroba 'colors' used by the American market," Gilmer added. "It is also the most often [of this species] requested by my customers, who use it for a variety of applications, including kitchen cabinetry and casework, furniture accessories and specialty items Like jewelry boxes. It is what I call a bargain-priced wood. There is a little trick to kiln drying it, but once done successfully it offers few problems when working with it. It is generally fine textured and takes a nice polish."

Gilmer gets his supplies from southern Brazil. "It's a very inexpensive lumber. It is sliced into veneer, but I haven't seen much of that in the U.S. market," he said.

Peroba Pal

Peroba rosa should not be confused with peroba de campos from the species Paratecoma peroba, which is also a Brazilian hardwood, but from the Family Bignoniaceae. Peroba de campos is sometimes called white peroba, which could Lead to confusion because, as noted previously, woods from the peroba group are often named by color.

Other common names for peroba de campos include: ipe clare, ipe peroba, peroba amarelle, peroba branca and golden peroba. Its weight ranges from 43 to 52 pounds per cubic foot, with an average weight of 47 pounds per cubic foot.

Wood from peroba de campos is valued for its excellent durability and is used in civil and naval construction, decking, exterior construction and joinery, and for commercial flooring. Peroba de campos also can be sliced into veneer for use in cabinetry, paneling and marquetry. The heartwood of peroba de campos varies in color from light olive-brown with yellow, to green or red tones and variegated stripes. Its grain is most often interlocked or wavy. Dust from the wood can be irritating and splinters are said to be poisonous.


Family Name

Aspidosperma peroba and related Aspidosperma species of the Family Apocynaceae.

Common Names

Peroba rosa, rosa peroba, red peroba, palo, rosa, amarello, amargoso, ibira-romi, palo rosa


The height ranges from 90 to 125 feet, with 4 to 5 foot diameters. Peroba's weight averages 47 pounds per cubic foot, with a specific gravity of 0.65.


Experts recommend care in drying to avoid problems. Suggested is a kiln schedule of T6-D2 for 4/4 stock and a schedule T3-D1 for 8/4 stock.

Peroba rosa is said to season without much splitting, however distortion may be a problem. The presence of irregular grain may cause tearouts when planing, but the wood generally works well with hand and machine tools. The wood is classed as durable, it takes a finish well and can be glued satisfactorily.

The wood is considered comparable to oak in strength properties. The sapwood and heartwood are not clearly demarcated and the wood has low to medium luster. There is no distinctive odor, but the wood is said to have a bitter taste.
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Title Annotation:WOOD OF THE MONTH: Peroba Rosa
Comment:Utilitarian to upscale: Peroba rosa is on a straight and narrow path to greater popularity.(WOOD OF THE MONTH: Peroba Rosa)
Author:Kaiser, Jo-Ann
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Feb 1, 2009
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