|Pterocarpus echinatus leaves|
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Pterocarpus is a pantropical genus of trees in the family Fabaceae, most of which yield valuable timber traded as padauk (or padouk); other common names are mukwa or narra. The wood is marketed as amboyna when it has grown in the burl form. The scientific name is Latinized Ancient Greek and means "wing fruit", referring to the unusual shape of the seed pods in this genus.
Padauk wood is obtained from several species of Pterocarpus. All padauks are of African or Asian origin. Padauks are valued for their toughness, stability in use, and decorativeness, most having a reddish wood. Most Pterocarpus woods contain either water- or alcohol-soluble substances and can be used as dyes.
The padauk found most often is African Padauk from Pterocarpus soyauxii which, when freshly cut, is a very bright red but when exposed to sunlight fades over time to a warm brown. Its colour makes it a favourite among woodworkers. Burmese Padauk is Pterocarpus macrocarpus while Andaman Padauk is Pterocarpus dalbergioides. Padauks can be confused with rosewoods to which they are somewhat related, but as a general rule padauks are coarser and less decorative in figure. Like rosewood, padauk is sometimes used to make xylophone and marimba keys, and guitars.
- Pterocarpus in West African plants - A Photo Guide.
- International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS) (2005): Genus Pterocarpus. Version 10.01, November 2005. Retrieved 2008-NOV-01.
- World Agroforestry Centre (WAC) : AgroForestryTree Database – Pterocarpus soyauxii. Retrieved 2008-NOV-01.
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