Description. Cocobolo, better known as Rosewood, is a hardwood of exceptional beauty and highly valued. It is a medium sized tree with a dark trunk is twisted with vertical fissures and it has alternate compound leaves. Although not an aesthetically attractive shape because of its popularity and demand it is now placed on the endangered species list in Costa Rica. The wood contrasts greatly from the sapwood of a creamy yellow to the deep red of the heartwood. It is been suggested that when cut or burned the wood gives off a sweet fragrance which may be why it is referred to as Rosewood.
Use: This beautifully streaked hard-wood is often used for furniture. Although difficult to work with because of its hardness it is insect resistant. The wood has been used for oxcart wheels, posts and firewood. The seeds have been incorporated into attractive jewelry. Because of its beauty and acoustic properties it has been used in high end instruments from guitars, drums, and basses to woodwind instruments. The sap from the tree has been used in folk medicine to treat bronchitis, while its green fruit has been used to treat diarrhea. Chemical compounds, saponins found in the bark and pods, cause this to be a soap substitute and also a spermicidal agent.
Aesthetics: Beautiful and highly desirable wood.
Legume flat fruits 15 cm (6 inches)
Grows in clusters with flowers being aprox 1 cm. Flower is white to green tinged. When in bloom it has a sweet smelll similar to honey.
Starts in February
A Guide to Tropical Plants of Costa Rica by Willow Zuchowski
Tropical Trees of Costa Rica by Willow Zuchowski, Turid Fosyth, photographer
Plantas ornamentales del tropico, by Rodrigues, F. Cruz, G.B. Quirico, J.M.
Cocobolo is on the list of endangered trees in Costa Rica. If you choose to grow this tree you are helping to restore the natural balance.