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Minquartia guianensis - Black wood


Native to:



Southern Central America, northern and central South America.

Tropical rainforest. Up to 1200 meters above sea level. 20 meters tall.

Minquartia guianensis - Black wood

Ecological value:

Fruits consumed by birds and small animals. Prefers a part-shade position. Only species in genus. Contains lichexanthone, a compound that commonly occurs in lichens, causing them to give off a green-yellow color under long-wavelength UV light.

Material uses:

Bark used in various tribal products. It's waxy leaves can be used for rain protection. Fine textured heavy wood, almost impervious to rot. Valuable as timber, hard to cut. Can last 30-40 years in ground without sign of decay. Used for poles and posts in construction.

Edible uses:

Some berries, but rarely consumed by humans. Grows well with plantains, or on borders of fields as shade trees.

Medicinal use:

Antimalarial, antiviral, anti-tumoral, and antibacterial. Also treats tuberculosis, hepatitis, parasites and rheumatism. Used by various Indian communities in the Amazon.

Other details:

Near threatened from over-harvest . Seeds from this family are often rich in oils. Bark, roots and stems of this family are usually rich in tannins. The Waorani and Ketchwa in Ecuador pound the bark until bruised, place it into small waterways where it stuns the fish and they can be easily collected.


Amy Feng/Christine Facella


“Minquartia Guianensis - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 14, 2023.
Lorenzi. H., ‘Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition’, Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil, 2002
El-Seedi et al, "Triterpenes, lichexanthone and an acetylenic acid from Minquartia guianensis". Phytochemistry, 1994
Image source: David J. Stang

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