8 Facts About Purpleheart Wood
In fact, a great diversity of natural color exists in wood, especially in tropical hardwoods. Step out of your wood comfort zone and learn some quick facts about purpleheart wood:
1. The Purpleheart Tree's Genus is Peltogyne
There are over 20 documented species of Peltogyne! Purpleheart trees range from Southeastern Brazil to Costa Rica and even to Trinidad, but most species grow in the Amazon basin. Hence, these trees are colloquially known by quite a few names, depending on the language. These include: amaranth, violetwood, tananeo, saka, koroboreli, pau roxo, and morado.
2. Its Wood is Not Always Purple
When purpleheart wood is first cut, it's actually more of a dull gray or faded brown color. However, with age and sun exposure, the wood darkens and adopts a more purple-ish hue. After the wood reaches its peak bright purple tint, so long as it’s continually exposed to UV light, it will then settle-in to a dark maroon, chocolate-purple, or even black color. The only way to prevent this drastic color change is to lock in the desired shade with the use of an UV-inhibiting varnish.
Purpleheart wood in different phases after being cut
Photo Courtesy: Hobbit Exotic Wood
3. It is Almost Unbreakable
Purpleheart wood is one of the hardiest and most sturdy woods in the world. As it is extremely dense and watertight, it is also very resistant to decay and to attack by fungi, termites, and other insects. I wish my house was made of this stuff...
4. The Purpleheart Tree is Very Sustainable
Although purpleheart wood seems exotic and rare because of its absolutely gorgeous color, it is actually one of the most durable, stable, and sustainable wood species. Not only is it resistant to water and insect invasion, but it can also withstand radical and abrupt changes in climate and humidity.
5. Purpleheart Wood Might Have Spiritual Qualities
In modern day pagan religions, purpleheart wood harbors important spiritual qualities. Many believe it enhances creative energy, knowledge, and assists in healing. It also may eliminate negative energies and tension in the home.
Purpleheart wood is both functional and spectacular in color. Maybe think twice before deciding to go with plain brown for your next woodworking project.
6. What is the grain pattern of Purple Heart Wood?
Primarily, the purple heart wood is straight graioned. However, there are examples of it being wavy, or displaying other patterns.
7. Air and Light give purple heart wood its color
Freshly cut purple heart looks brown or greyish. However, as soon as they are exposed to air and light they begin to change color. This is because, of the chemical reactions caused by oxidation and UV radiation of the wood. Anti-UV coating is often used to limit the color change.
8. Purpleheart Trees can grow up to 170 feet!
If you thought that purpleheart trees wouldn’t be that easy to spot, you were wrong. These trees have a very impressive size. The purpleheart trees can grow up to the size of up to 30 - 50 meters which is about 100 - 170 feet. They have a trunk diameter of around 5 feet as well. This makes these trees on the higher side when it comes to trees with high heights.