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Phyllostylon brasiliensis – Pau branco


Native to:



Central and South America, the Caribbean.

10 meter tall tree. Up to 200 meters above sea level.

Phyllostylon brasiliensis – Pau branco

Ecological value:

Little information on this species, but P. rhamnoides is often found in calcareous soils or on rocky soils, as well as lowland forests, in savannah and clay-like forest soils. The Ulmaceae family generally used for timber and are generally wind-pollinated.

Material uses:

Hard and heavy wood, straight grained but at times irregular. Highly resistant to insect attack. Easy to work with and readily turned and carved. It takes stain, polish and glue well. Pre-boring is advisable with thin stock. It has been suggested as a substitute for boxwood.

Edible uses:

Unspecified food source. Seeds of P. rhamnoides are eaten.

Medicinal use:

Unspecified medicinal uses.

Other details:

Three species in this genus are currently recorded: P. brasiliensis, P. rhamnoides and P. orthopterum. P. orthopterum is endemic to Bolivia and is threatened by habitat loss.
P. brasiliensis is listed as vulnerable.


Jiahuan Cheng/Christine Facella


“Phyllostylon Rhamnoides (J.Poiss.) Taub. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 16, 2023.
“Phyllostylon Brasiliensis - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 16, 2023.
‌ Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J., ‘South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species’, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization,1979
Chudnoff Martin., ‘Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607’, USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin., 1984
“Phyllostylon.” 2021. Wikipedia. March 23, 2021.
Image source: Tereso Hernández Morales.

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