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Iroko

Iroko wood, wood of the iroko tree (Chlorophora excelsa), native to the west coast of Africa. It is sometimes called African, or Nigerian, teak, but the iroko is unrelated to the teak family. The wood is tough, dense, and very durable. It is often used in cabinetmaking and paneling as a substitute for teak, which it resembles both in colour (light brown to deep golden-brown) and in grain.

When freshly cut, or when unexposed to light, the heartwood is a distinct yellow colour, but on exposure to light it quickly becomes golden-brown. The sapwood is narrow, being about 50mm to 75mm wide, and clearly defined. The grain is usually interlocked and the texture is rather coarse but even, and the wood weighs on average 660 kg/m³ when dried. Large, hard deposits of calcium carbonate called 'stone' deposits, are sometimes present in cavities, probably as a result of injury to the tree. They are often enclosed by the wood and not visible until the time of sawing, though the wood around them may be darker in colour, thus giving an indication of their presence.




Color/Appearance: Heartwood is usually a yellow to golden or medium brown, with color tending to darken over time. Pale yellow sapwood is clearly demarcated from the heartwood.


Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Iroko has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. Iroko can also cause other health effects in sensitive individuals, such as asthma-like symptoms, boils, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.


Scientific Name ---------------
Milicia excelsa, M. regia (syn. Chlorophora excelsa, C. regia)

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