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Information about: Brazilwood

Note: Information is dated. Do not rely on it.

Brazilwood. A kind of wood yielding a red dye, obtained from several trees of the genus Caesalpinia, natives of the West Indies and South America. The best kind is Caesalpinia echinata; other varieties are Caesalpinia brasiliensis, Caesalpinia crista, and Caesalpinia sappan - the last being a native of the East Indies. The wood is hard and heavy, and as it takes on a fine polish it is used by cabinet makers for various purposes, but its principal use is in dyeing red. The heart wood is used for this purpose. The dye is obtained by reducing the wood to powder and boiling it in either alcohol or water, when the fluid receives the red coloring principle, which is a crystallizable substance called brazilin. The color is not permanent unless fixed by suitable mordants.