|in Talakona forest, in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, India.|
Pterocarpus santalinus, with the common names Red Sanders, Red Sandalwood, and Saunderswood, is a species of Pterocarpus endemic to the southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India. This tree is valued for the rich red color of its wood. The wood is not aromatic. The tree is not to be confused with the aromatic Santalum Sandalwood trees that grow natively in South India.
Pterocarpus santalinus is a light-demanding small tree, growing to 8 metres (26 ft) tall with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter. It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 metres (16 ft) tall in three years, even on degraded soils. It is not frost tolerant, being killed by temperatures of −1 °C.
The leaves are alternate, 3–9 cm long, trifoliate with three leaflets.
The wood has historically been valued in China, particularly during the Qing Dynasty periods, and is referred to in Chinese as zitan (紫檀) and spelt tzu-t'an by earlier western authors such Gustav Ecke, who introduced classical Chinese hardwood furniture to the west.
In India sandalwood is one main and lucrative market for smugglers, as a high price is paid for this wood in China. Since, the exporting of sandalwood in India, the underground market is growing and there are a number of arrests every year of those trying to smuggle this wood to China.
The other form of zitan is from the species Dalbergia luovelii, Dalbergia maritima, and Dalbergia normandi, all similar species named in trade as bois de rose or violet rosewood which when cut are bright crimson purple changing to dark purple again. It has a fragrant scent when worked.
Grading of red sandalwood
Red sandalwood grown on the shale subsoils, at altitudes around 750 metres (2,460 ft), and in semi-arid climatic conditions gives a distinctive wavy grain margin. Lumber pieces with the wavy grain margin are graded as "A" grade. Red sandalwood with wavy grain margins sells at higher prices than the standard wood.
Pterocarpus santalinus is listed as an Endangered species by the IUCN, because of overexploitation for its timber in South India. It is also listed in the appendix II of the CITES, which means that a certificate is required in order to export it, that should only be granted if the trade is not detrimental to the survival of the species.
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- IUCN Report: Pterocarpus santalinus (Almug, Red Sandalwood, Saunderswood)
- International Legume Database & Information Service: Pterocarpus santalinus
- FAO Ecocrop: Pterocarpus santalinus
- Auroville: Wasteland reclamation through rehabilitation of eroded soil (pdf file)
- http://www.chinese-furniture.com/cgi-bin/ccf.cgi?stt=stp&pgn=newsletter_archive/newsletter_2.html&id= Chinese Furniture.com newsletter; Volume 1, Number 2; Accessed 2007-04-05
- http://www.wctg.net/zitan.html; Accessed 2007-04-06
- Red List of Threatened Species: Pterocarpus santalinus, IUCN
- Appendices I, II and III, CITES
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