Greenheart (Nectandra rodicei) is found in British Guiana and in the N.E. portion of South America.
The section of this timber has a peculiar appearance, being of a fine grain, and very full of fine pores like the section of a cane. The annual rings are rarely distinguishable. The heartwood is of a dark-green or chestnut colour; the centre portion a deep, brownish purple, often nearly black. The sap-wood is dark-green, and often not distinguishable from the heart.
Greenheart is the strongest timber in use. Its resistance to crushing is enormous, but when it gives way it does so suddenly. It is also apt to split and splinter, and therefore requires great care in working. The timber is clean and straight in grain, very hard and heavy. It contains an essential oil, and many authorities state that on account of this it is entirely free from the attacks of worms. The Dutch Commission that experimented some years ago on this subject reported that this is not the case,1 and Mr. Laslett considers it doubtful It appears, however, that in any case worms will only penetrate the sapwood. The presence of the oil above mentioned causes the wood to burn freely, so that it is known in Demerara as "torch-wood." 2
Market forms. - The timber comes into the market roughly hewn, a great deal of bark being left upon the angles, and the ends of the butts are not cut off square The logs are from 12 to 24 inches square, and up to 50 feet in length.