Common Names: Purpleheart, Amaranth

Scientific Name: Peltogyne spp.

Origin: Central and South America (from Mexico down to southern Brazil)

Tree Size: 100-170 ft (30-50 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 56 lbs/ft3 (905 kg/m3)


Color & Appearance:

When freshly cut, Purpleheart heartwood is dull gray purple-brown. When exposed to light, the wood becomes a deep eggplant purple. With more age and exposure to UV light, Purpleheart becomes dark brown with a tint of purple. This color-change can be slowed down and minimized by using UV inhibiting finishes on the wood.

Grain & Texture:

Purpleheart grain is straight most of the time, but it can also be wavy and irregular. It has medium texture with lovely natural luster.


Purpleheart is diffuse-porous with medium to large pores, few in number. The wood has solitary and radial multiples with mineral deposits occasionally present. Growth rings may be distinct or indistinct, depending on species and growth conditions. Rays are barely visible without a lens. It is parenchyma winged, lozenge, confluent, unilateral, and sometimes marginal.

Rot Resistance:

Purpleheart is rated very durable since it resists both decay and insect attacks; however, it has been reported to be vulnerable to attacks from marine borers.


Working with Purpleheart can present singular challenges. If this wood is heated with dull tools or with very high cutter speeds, Purpleheart will ooze a gummy resin that may clog tools and muddle the machining processes. Depending on grain orientation, this wood can be hard to plane without tearout. Purpleheart may have a dulling effect on cutters.


Purpleheart scent varies based on the species. Most species have no characteristic scent, but some may have a pungent odor.

Allergies & Toxicity:

Purpleheart reactions are very uncommon, but it can be a sensitizer. Most common reactions include basic eye and skin irritations; however, Purpleheart has been reported to cause nausea.

Pricing & Availability:

Purpleheart is widely available as lumber in various widths and thicknesses. Prices are low to medium range for an imported hardwood.


Purpleheart is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses:

Purpleheart is used for inlays and accent pieces, furniture, flooring, boat building, heavy construction, and various specialty wood objects.


Purpleheart is often called “Amaranth.” Purpleheart is a colorful Latin American hardwood that is extremely popular for furniture and other wood object designs that demand a distinctive splash of color. In addition to the coloration, Purpleheart has great strength properties and can be used where endurance is important. This is a wood good for both function and form.

Size 1-200 Bft 201-300 Bft 301-500 Bft 501+ Bft
4/4  11.35 8.60  7.35  6.80
8/4 11.35  8.85  7.60  7.05