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General Description
Tree & Wood Descriptions for: Manilkara bidentata

Product Sources

Some timber from this species is reported to be available from sustainably managed or other environmentally responsible sources.

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) reports that the species is an important source of timber. It is usually exported at a low rate, and is also well known for its yield of balata or gutta-percha which is collected from tapped trees.

Small quantities of Bulletwood are reported to be exported because the tree is valued for its latex. Supplies of lumber are limited, and the material is usually available at high prices from the larger importers in the United States.

Tree Data

The tree is usually large, attaining heights of 100 to 150 feet, with diameters of 24 to 48 inches, (60 to 120 cm), sometimes reaching 6 feet (1.8 m). Trees are usually swollen at the base, and boles are often straight and clear to about 60 feet (18 m).

Sapwood Color

The sapwood is whitish or pale brown in color and is not clearly demarcated from the heartwood.

Heartwood Color

The heartwood is light to dark reddish brown in color. The color has also been described as dull plum red, somewhat resembling raw beef.


The grain is straight, sometimes slightly wavy or interlocked.


The texture is fine and uniform.


Luster is reported to be low to medium.


The wood has no distinctive odor or taste.

Natural Durability

The timber is rated as highly resistant to attack by decay fungi and subterranean termites. It has moderate resistance to attack by dry wood termites, and is reported to be susceptible to marine borer attack.

Resistance to Impregnation

The timber is reported to be very resistant to moisture absorption and to preservative treatment. Resistance to impregnations is reported to be higher than in Teak.

Weathering Characteristics

The wood is reported to have poor weathering properties, and surface-checks considerably when exposed to the weather without propection.

Toxic Constituents

The sawdust is reported to cause irritation in some individuals.

Strength Properties

Bending strength in the air-dry condition (about 12 percent moisture content) is exceptionally high. It is far superior in strength to either Teak or Hard maple. Maximum crushing strength, or compression parallel to grain, is exceptionally high. It is very hard, and may require special tools to process. Bulletwood is reported to be equal to or superior to Greenheart (Ocotea rodiaei ) in shock resistance, hardness, shear, and bending strength.