Common Names: Jatoba, Brazilian Cherry

Scientific Name: Hymenaeacourbaril

Origin: Central America, southern parts of Mexico, northern parts of South America, and West Indies

Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 57 lbs/ft3 (910 kg/m3)


Color & Appearance:

Jatoba heartwood can range from light orange-brown to dark red-brown and may have contrasting dark grey-brown streaks. Its color often darkens when exposed to light. Jatoba sapwood is light grey-yellow and is clearly defined from the heartwood.

Grain & Texture:

The Jatoba grain is usually interlocked and has a medium coarse to very coarse texture with a nice natural luster.


Jatoba is diffuse and porous with a few large pores. It has solitary, radial multiples of 2-3 and occasional dark brown mineral deposits. It is parenchyma vasicentric, aliform (winged or lozenge), confluent and marginal with narrow to medium rays and normal spacing.

Rot Resistance:

Jatoba is very resilient to rot resistance, to termites, and to most other insects. However, it can be vulnerable to attacks from marine borers.


Jatoba is difficult to work due to its density and hardness. It has a notable blunting effect on tool cutters. Jatoba tends to be hard to plane without tearout due to an interlocking grain. Jatoba, stains, turns, glues, and finishes well, however, and responds well to steam-bending.


This wood has no noticeable odor.

Allergies & Toxicity:

Severe reactions are very uncommon, but Jatoba has been reported to cause skin irritations.

Pricing & Availability:

Jatoba is available in several sizes and widths, as lumber and as flooring planks. It is inexpensive for an imported timber.


This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.

Common Uses:

Jatoba is used for furniture, flooring, cabinetry, tool handles, railroad ties,shipbuilding, turned objects, and small specialty objects.


Although widely called “Brazilian Cherry” among flooring sellers, Jatoba bears little resemblance to the domestic Cherry (Prunusserotina) found in the United States, even though Jatoba’s natural color nearly matches the normal stained color of domestic Cherry, aged/stained red-brown on some interior furniture. Jatoba is remarkably stiff, hard, and strong and represents a very good value for woodworkers who need a high-strength, low-cost lumber.

Size 1-200 Bft 201-300 Bft 301-500 Bft 501+ Bft
4/4  10.05  7.85  5.05 4.55
5/4  10.10  7.90 5.10 4.60
8/4  10.70   8.50  5.70  5.20