Rosewood, the name under which several costly kinds of ornamental wood are found in commerce, coming from different countries and afforded by various known and unknown trees of different species and families. Usually they are of a deep rose color, veined and clouded with dark purple, which on exposure becomes nearly black, and have the odor of roses, which is especially manifested when the wood is worked. The best known rosewoods are from Brazil and other parts of South America, and are from different species of Dalbergia and machoerium, of the order legu-minosoe; they are imported in semi-cylindrical slabs, about 12 ft. long and from 12 to 22 in. in diameter; the bark is removed, and the trunk split through the centre in order that the quality of the wood in the interior may be inspected, as it varies greatly in the fineness of grain; varieties which come in short cylindrical pieces, known as violet wood and king wood, are supposed to be from related trees. African and Burmese rosewoods are from species of pterocarpus, of the same family. Other countries have rosewoods produced by trees of other families, among which are those of Jamaica afforded by species of amyris, of the burseraceoe, and Linociera, of the olive family.
Rosewood is used for the finer kinds of furniture and cabinet work, but it has less strength than some less expensive woods. - Under the name of oil of rosewood or oil of rhodium there is found in commerce a thick yellowish oil, used in perfumery, especially to adulterate oil of roses, and by fur trappers to scent the bait of their traps; this has been erroneously supposed to be from the ordinary rosewoods, but it is obtained from what is known in French commerce as bois de Rhodes, or lignum rhodium; it is in sticks of 3 or 4 in. diameter, with a strong odor of rose. It is the stems and roots of two species of rhodo-riza, of the convolvulus family, a genus confined to the Canary islands.