Ipé, Lapacho (Handroanthus impetiginosus) grows in Brazil, Central and South America (in the forests of northern Argentina) and on some of the Lesser Antilles. The trees become very large, 50 meters high are not uncommon, and the wood has several good characteristics that make it a sought-after wood for outdoor applications.
Ipe is a wood of extremes: extremely dense and durable, but also extremely difficult to work with. Due to its incredible hardness and strength, it is resistant to rotting, wetness and termites like hardly any other wood.
The very heavy wood is of a surprising colour: Lapacho has a yellow-green colour, often greenish dark brown. The cutting or planing of Ipe produces a fine, golden-yellow wood dust due to the abundant yellow lapachol embedded in the pores. Seen in the light, mineral inclusions glisten with a hue of golden yellow mica on the fresh saw surfaces.
Most common uses are for flooring, terraces, exterior woods, veneers, tool handles, railway sleepers, structural timber, and woodturning.
Ipé, Lapacho was until 2007 under the scientific name Tabebuia spp., based on recent genetic studies it is assigned to the Handroanthus family.
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