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Platymiscium pinnatum - Macawood


Native to:



Central and South America

Dry deciduous forest, on dry hillsides. Up to 1300 meters above sea level. 20 meter tall tree.

Platymiscium pinnatum - Macawood

Ecological value:

Symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria which help fixe atmospheric nitrogen and shared by plants nearby. Flowers are very attractive to bees, butterflies. Pollinated by insects. Slow growing tree. Drought tolerant once established.

Material uses:

Wood, moderately heavy and hard, is durable and resistant to wood boring insects and fungi. Seasons slowly. Is considered a ‘high-end’ and is used in furniture, cabinetry, house construction, as veneers, in musical instruments, turned objects, and small specialty wood-items.

Edible uses:

Cornmeal can be cooked in leaves, giving a distinct, pleasant flavor. Cultivated as a shade-tree in coffee plantations.

Medicinal use:

Used to treat skin conditions. Leaves of Platymiscium trinitatis are used as a poultice to treat headaches.

Other details:

Endangered. Thrives in fertile, nitrogen-rich and deep soil. Individual often show signs of genetic degradation. Prefers full sun. Fuel wood. Showy and sweet-scented flowers. Platymiscium is the only genus in the family with opposite leaves in all it’s species.


Michael Sanchez/Christine Facella


“Platymiscium Pinnatum (Jacq.) Dugand | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 16, 2023.
“Platymiscium Pinnatum - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 16, 2023.
Facciola. S., ‘Cornucopia II’, Kampong Publications, California, 1998
Barwick. M., ‘Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide’, Thames & Hudson, London, 2004
Uphof. J. C. Th., ‘Dictionary of Economic Plants’, Weinheim, 1959
Facciola. S., ‘Cornucopia II’, Kampong Publications, California, 1998
“Platymiscium Trinitatis Macacauba, Macawood, Hormigo, Orange Agate PFAF Plant Database.” n.d. Accessed November 24, 2023.
Image source: Forest & Kim Starr (Pictured is P. stipulare)

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