Characteristics of Indian Rosewood Tree (Dalbergia latifolia) in the Wild

Dalbergia latifolia
Indian rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia) or in English known as Rosewood, refers to one of the genera of the Dalbergia plant. Rosewood Indian wood has a brownish color with darker and even black veins and is included as strong and durable wood.

The rosewood Indian tree is valued in the world because it has very good quality wood (grade 1). The tree is native to Indonesia, its spread includes India and several trees grow in Pakistan.

Besides Indian rosewood native to Indonesia, several countries have similar trees which are also dubbed as rosewood because they are related to the original Indian rosewood, that is the Madagascar Rosewood (Dalbergia maritima) commonly known as “Bois de rose”, then Rosma Burma (Dalbergia cultrata), Rosewood Malaysia (Dalbergia oliveri), and the latter are Rosewood Nicaragua (Dalbergia retusa) or popular name “Cocobolo”.

Not all tree species of the genus Dalbergia produce strong wood, there are only about 10-12 species that produce number one quality wood.

In the world of wood trading, the name rosewood is widely used only to name strong wood traits like the original Indian rosewood. Some wood from trees that are not related to rosewood but are often called rosewood include:

  • Bolivian Rosewood (Machaerium scleroxylon)
  • Narra (Pterocarpus indicus)
  • Sonosiso (Dalbergia sissoo)
  • Australian Mahogany (Dysoxylum fraserianum)
  • Australian Black Acacia (Paciaocanus indicus)

All of which have wood quality equivalent to Teak wood but at a cheaper price.

 

Characteristics of Indian Rosewood Leaf

Dalbergia latifolia Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Yeoh Yi Shuen

Rosewood Indian leaves are compound, pinnate odd, with 5-7 leaves that are not the same size. Child-shaped leaves dull, green above and grayish on the underside.

 

Characteristics of Indian Rosewood Flower

Dalbergia latifolia Flower
Source : flickr.com/Cerlin Ng

The flowers are small, about 0.5-1 cm long, and grow in clusters in panicles.

 

Characteristics of IndianRosewood Fruit

Dalbergia latifolia Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Dinesh Valke

The pods are brown, lancet elongated, tapered at the base and tip. Each fruit contains 1-4 brownish seeds.

 

Characteristics of IndianRosewood Tree

Dalbergia latifolia Tree
Source : amazon.com

Indian rosewood tree can grow as high as 30-40 meters with a trunk diameter of 2 meters, and dense canopy to form a dome.

In Indonesia, Indian rosewood trees are only found growing in the forests of Central Java and East Java at an altitude of 600 m above sea level, especially on rocky soils, infertile and dry soils. The trees grow in groups, but not too many.

All Indian rosewood trees produce the best wood and are often used to make expensive furniture, musical instruments, hardwood floors, etc.

Unfortunately, the viability of Indian rosewood trees around the world has recently deteriorated due to over-exploitation. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) moves to protect Indian rosewood and other rosewood trees in the wild. About 300 species are now under trade restrictions.

 

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