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Iron-Wood

IRON-WOOD, the name applied to several kinds of timber, the produce of trees from different parts of the tropics, and belonging to very different natural families. Usually the wood is extremely hard, dense and dark-coloured, and sinks in water. Several species of Sideroxylon (Sapotaceae) yield iron-wood, Sideroxylon cinereum or Bojerianum being the bois de fer blanc of Africa and Mauritius, and the name is also given to species of Metrosideros (Myrtaceae) and Diospyros (Ebenaceae).

West Indian iron-wood is the produce of Colubrina redinata (and C.ferruginosa (Rhamnaceae) , and of Aegiphila martinicensis Verbenaceae). Ixora (Siderodendron) triflorum (Rubiaceae) is the bois defer of Martinique, and Zanthoxylum Plerota (Rulaceae) is the iron-wood of Jamaica, while Robinia Ponacoco ( Leguminosae) is described as the iron-wood of Guiana. The iron-wood of India and Ceylon is the produce of M esua ferrea (Guttiferae). The iron-wood tree of Pegu and Arracan is Xylia dolabriformis (Leguminosae) , described as the most important timber-tree of Burma after teak, and known as pyingado. The endemic bois de fer of Mauritius, once frequent in the primeval woods, but now becoming very scarce, is Stadtmannia Sideroxylon (Sapindaceae) , while Cossignya pinnata is known as the bois de fer de Judas. In Australia species of Acacia, Casuarina, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Myrtus, and other genera are known more or less widely as iron-wood. Tasmanian iron-wood is the produce of Notelaea ligustrina (Oleaceae), and is chiefly used for making ships' blocks. The iron-wood or lever-wood of North America is the timber of the American hop hornbeam, Ostrya virginica (Cupuliferae) . In Brazil Apuleia ferrea and Caesalpinia ferrea yield a kind of iron-wood, called, however, the Pao ferro or false iron-wood.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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