Pterocarpus is a pantropical genus of trees in the family Fabaceae, most of which yield valuable timber traded as padauk. The genus is named from its winged pods. A total of 34 species is currently accepted.Species

  • Pterocarpus mildbraedii Harms
  • Pterocarpus mutondo De Wild.
  • Pterocarpus officinalis Jacq.
  • Pterocarpus orbiculatus DC.
  • Pterocarpus osun Craib
  • Pterocarpus rohrii Vahl
  • Pterocarpus rotundifolius (Sond.) Druce
  • Pterocarpus santalinoides DC.
  • Pterocarpus santalinus L.f. – Red Sandalwood
  • Pterocarpus soyauxii Taub. – African Padauk
  • Pterocarpus ternatus Rizzini
  • Pterocarpus tessmannii Harms
  • Pterocarpus tinctorius Welw.
  • Pterocarpus velutinus De Wild.
  • Pterocarpus villosus (Benth.) Benth.
  • Pterocarpus violaceus Vogel
  • Pterocarpus zehntneri Harms
  • The name Pterocarpus comes from the unusual shape of the seed pods in the genus. In Greek meaning "wing fruit".


    Padauk (or padouk) wood is obtained from several species of Pterocarpus. All padauks are of African or Asian origin. Padauks are valued for their toughness, stability in use, and decorativeness, most having a reddish wood. Most Pterocarpus woods contain either water- or alcohol-soluble substances and can be used as dyes.

    The padauk found most often in the timber trade is African Padauk from Pterocarpus soyauxii which, when freshly cut, is a very bright red but when exposed to sunlight fades over time to a warm brown. Its colour makes it a favourite among woodworkers. Burmese Padauk is Pterocarpus macrocarpus while Andaman Padauk is Pterocarpus dalbergioides. Padauks can be confused with rosewoods to which they are somewhat related, but as a general rule padauks are coarser and less decorative in figure.

    Some African padauks are used as herbal medicines to treat skin parasites and fungal infections. This particular timber was called "barwood", most likely a species closely connected to Pterocarpus soyauxii.


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