Wood Atlas - Xylarium

Lignum Vitae

lat. Guaiacum spp.

Lignum Vitae

Lignum vitae (Guaiacum officinale) ©Forest & Kim StarrLignum vitae (Guaiacum spp.) grows up to 70 feet tall and grows mainly in the tropics and subtropics of Central America and the Caribbean. Medically, it is important for the guaiac test used to detect bowel cancer. The wood was also used as a tea in the ancient Mayan culture to treat syphilis, a cure still used in the nineteenth century against syphilis, persistent chronic rashes, rheumatism, and gout. It is also used to flavor some well-known herb liqueurs and the guaiac resin is used in herbal remedies and the common cough expectorant guaifenesin is a derivative.
The wood is extremely hard and dense, in fact one of the hardest woods worldwide. It is greenish-brown with pale yellow sapwood and extremely oily. This self-lubricating quality led lignum vitae to be used for centuries as ship’s bearings, press rolls, and mortars. It also makes an excellent base for carpenters’ planes and is used to make a kind of bocce balls.

Note: this wood can only be shipped within the EU! Export outside the EU, including Switzerland, is not allowed!

Find the right wood by appearance!
Our wood atlas makes it significantly easier to find the right wood for your projects.
But, as you know, wood is a natural product and what us shown here is only
a sample and the actual piece may vary in color and pattern.

Tip: Use the left and right arrows to navigate; to select the wood currently show, click on the link below the image. The wood atlas is by no means exhaustive and is constantly being expanded. But, on the whole, almost all the woods we have in stock are shown.