Common Name(s): Ipe, Brazilian Walnut, Lapacho

Common Name(s): : Ipe, LapachoBrazilian, Walnut

Scientific Name: Handroanthus spp. (formerly placed in the Tabebuia genus)

Origin: Tropical Americas (Central and South America); also farmed commercially

Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 69 lbs/ft3 (1,100 kg/m3)


Color & Appearance:

Ipe heartwood can range from red-brown to yellow olive-brown or dark black-brown. It may have contrasting dark brown/black stripes. In certain species powdery yellow deposits lie within the wood. Ipe can be hard to distinguish from Cumaru, another solid South American timber, but Ipe is usually darker and does not have Cumaru’s delicate vanilla and cinnamon scent when being worked.

Grain & Texture:

Ipe has a fine-to-medium texture with a grain that varies from straight to irregular and interlocked. It has adequate natural luster.


Ipe is porous and diffuse with solitary and radial multiples. It has medium to large pores randomly arranged, numerous to very numerous. Tyloses and mineral and gum deposits are sometimes present. It is parenchyma unilateral, winged, and marginal with narrow rays, normal spacing, and ripple marks

Rot Resistance:

Ipe is very durable with excellent insect resistance, but some species are prone to marine borers. It has excellent weathering features. [Ipe was used for the boardwalk of New York City’s Coney Island and lasted 25 years before replacement.]


Generally, Ipe is a difficult wood to work since it is very hard, very dense, and has high cutting resistance. It also has a marked blunting outcome on cutting edges. This wood generally planes smoothly, but the grain can tear out on interlocked parts. It can be hard to glue correctly, so surface preparation before gluing is suggested. Straight-grain wood turns well; however, natural powdery yellow deposits can sometimes hinder wood polishing or finishing.


Ipe has a slight scent while being worked.

Allergies and Toxicity:

Severe reactions are uncommon, but Ipe has been reported to cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, as well as headaches, asthma-like symptoms, or disturbances of vision.

Pricing & Availability:

Ipe is usually sold as decking or flooring; boards for furniture and general use are often available. Prices are reasonable for an imported tropical species.


This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, Ipe species grow in very low densities, and mature trees occur only once per 300,000 to 1,000,000 square feet of forest area. The clearing of large parts of rainforest trees (most of little commercial value) is required, but certified sources of Ipe are available.

Common Uses:

Ipe is used often for decking, flooring, veneer, exterior lumber, tool handles, and similar turned objects.


Ipe is an extremely dense and durable wood, but also very difficult to work. Ipe’s extreme hardness and strength make it suited for flooring application. Even though it is referred to as “Brazilian Walnut” by flooring dealers, it is not related to true Walnut of the Juglans genus. Ipe was formerly classified in the Tabebuia genus. Species of Ipe (H. guayacan, H. impetiginosus, H. serratifolius) were moved in 2007 to the Handroanthus genus based on genetic research.

Size 1-200 Lft 201-300 Lft 301-500 Lft 501+ Lft
5/4 4.90 4.75 4.55 4.41