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Swartzia benthamiana

Swartzia benthamiana of the family Fabaceae (syn Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family. It is possible that there are other Swartzia species that are sold as wamara, but I can't seem to pin that down exactly.

I have now found another species, Swartzia leiocalycina, that also has wamara as a common name (among many others) but its end grain update shows a significantly different structure from my other samples, both of wamara and of bastard wamara, BUT ... it is identical to the end grain characteristics of katalox (Swartzia cubensis), to which wamara is closely related.

note that the following species on this site have some considerable similarities, even to the point of being difficult to tell apart by the fine grain detail in a well-cleaned up end grain shot. They CAN generally be distinguished by other characteristic in the face grain and in the color, but I just wanted to note their similarities in case you have any confusion among them.

my samples:

This first plank was provided by Joe Melton, whom I thank for this and numerous other contributions

both sides of a small plank

end grain of each end

both end grain closeups of the piece directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from the left end grain shot directly above

two planks --- upper piece untouched, lower piece sanded; see comments below

end grain and end grain closeup of the sanded piece

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- this update process, which was done from the other end of the piece, brought back the bright purple.

Joe also sent along these pieces, which were labeled "bastard" wamara. This is clearly a different spieces, even if related (as the common name suggests), but I can't find it in my references, so I'm leaving it here for now.

The striking thing about this is that the vibrant purple color went away when I sanded it. Fortunately, Joe was kind enough to send two pieces so I left one of them untouched to show the difference. The piece that I sanded had (as the other piece still does) a dull blackish-purple face grain patina but a side grain of vibrant purple. Thinking that the dull patina would sand off and show the same bright purple as the side grain, I ground away at it with my heavy duty (floor-model) belt sander and was surprised that the patina seemed to go quite deep into the wood. SO ... I sliced off 1/8" and it STILL had the dull purple color. So then I sanded the side grain and saw the bright purple fade to the dull purple that you see here. Obviously, the conclusion is that the purple color surfaces with exposure, like some purpleheart. In fact, this wood seems VERY like some purpleheart.

web pics:

planks --- these more like my samples of queenwood than they do wamara, but since they were listed as wamara, I'm leaving them on this page.

planks listed as coracao de negro / Swartzia benthamiana. I have never otherwise heard of the name "coracao de negro" and it was not among the 26 common names that are in my database for Swartzia benthamiana. I suspect that the colors in these pics are pretty accurate.


scales --- given the radical difference between these pics and the rest on this page, I wonder if it is in fact the same wood, but this is how it was listed, so this is where I've put it.