Allem. ex Benth.
Dalbergia nigra, commonly known as the Bahia Rosewood, Jacarandá da Bahia, Brazilian Rosewood, Rio Rosewood, Jacarandá De Brasil, Pianowood, Caviuna, or Obuina, is a species of legume in the Fabaceae family. It is found only in Brazil, from the eastern forests of Bahia to Rio de Janeiro. It is threatened by habitat loss, since most of its habitat has been converted to farmland. Due to its endangered status, it was CITES-listed on Nov. 6 1992 in Appendix I (the most protected), and illegal to trade.
Dalbergia nigra produces a very hard and heavy wood, characteristically varied in color from brick red through various shades of brown (medium to nearly black). Pieces that feature veins of black coloration called spider webbing or landscape grain are especially prized. Brazilian rosewood has a distinctive floral fragrance—reminiscent of roses with a distinctive sweetness—and strongest in old growth wood. Another distinguishing feature is its outstanding resonance. An evenly cut piece that is tapped emits a bright metallic ring that sustains. This property, combined with its beauty has made Brazilian rosewood a favorite of musical instrument makers for centuries.
The wood of this species has been much sought after since it was first introduced to the European and subsequently the world market hundreds of years ago. Dalbergia nigra became popular in high grade furniture, such as that produced during the Regency period of late 18th and early 19th centuries—and more recently by Scandinavian makers who produced furniture in the Danish Modern style. This species has also been used in various musical instruments, decorative wood-ware, knife handles and turnery. Much of the most highly figured material was sliced into veneers—which decorated items such as domestic and office furniture, wall panels, piano cases and it was also a favorite of marquetry artists.
Old growth Brazilian rosewood remains highly prized by classical and steel string guitar makers, who regarded it as one of the best sounding woods for guitar backs and sides. It was used in instruments as long ago as the late Renaissance and Baroque eras, when luthiers used it for lute backs (ribs) and various parts of other stringed musical instruments. It was also used in woodwind instruments, such as flutes and recorders.
- Varty, N. 1998. Dalbergia nigra. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.2.