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Dalbergia retusa - Cocobolo


Native to:



Southern Central America, Colombia.

Dry and tropical forests. 50-300 meters above sea level. 20 meter tall tree.

Dalbergia retusa - Cocobolo

Ecological value:

Slow growing. Fixes atmospheric nitrogen. Responds well to fires: In areas that has experienced burning, saplings have been observed to pop up in high numbers. Prefers fun sun and fertile soil. Flowers all year round.

Material uses:

Wood is hard and strong, difficult to work. Used for carpentry and construction, in musical and scientific instruments, tool handles, jewelry boxes etc. Valuable timber, often exported. Used in traditional Chinese furniture. A type of rosewood, but soft. Faint streaks of black.

Edible uses:

No record on this species.

Medicinal use:

Secretion of compound that act as potent bactericides, fungicides and algaecide.

Other details:

Exploitation as a timber is intense and has in some areas been completely exhausted (Costa Rica). Classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Within this species, compounds have been found that may be used as potent bactericides, fungicides and algaecides


Michael Sanchez / Hyejung Moon / Christine Facella


“Dalbergia Retusa Hemsl. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 26, 2023.
“Dalbergia Retusa - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 7, 2023.
‌Uphof. J. C. Th., ‘Dictionary of Economic Plants’, Weinheim, 1959
Image source: David J. Stang.

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