Black Palm Technical Info

Black Palm wood is not a wood; it (Borassus flabellifer) is in fact a grass. Accordingly, Black Palm is not classified as a forestry species, so does not pertain to the FSC. Finished black palm wood is a luxury material for modern houses and buildings. And it is visually striking, with a textured appearance. Black palm wood can be laminated, shaped, drilled, or screwed.

IMG_5331                                                                                   Black Palm Wood Section

Its exceptional strength underpins the impressive ecological credentials making it the perfect substitute for tropical hardwood timber.

Common Name(s): Black Palm, Palmyra Palm

Scientific Name: Borassus flabellifer

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .79, .97

Janka Hardness: Most important of Black Palm is long durability. It has a high level of Janka hardness index: 2,020 lbf (9,000 N)

Crushing Strength: 10,190 lbf/in2 (70.3 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: ~5.5%, Tangential: ~5.5%, Volumetric: ~11.0%, T/R Ratio: ~1.0. Palm woods have no growth rings, and as a result, the shrinkage rate for drying the wood is more or less uniform between the radial and tangential surfaces, resulting in a T/R ratio of 1.0 and good dimensional stability.

Color/Appearance: Black fibers embedded in a lighter tan or light brown colored body. Fibers are more densely packed toward the outside of the tree trunk, becoming more and more sparse toward the center of the tree.

Grain/Texture: Grain is very straight, and contains no growth rings, knots, or defects and end grain exhibits a dotted pattern unique to palm trees.

Grading of BLack Palm Wood                                                                              End Grain of Black Palm Wood


Rot Resistance: Black Palm is reported to be durable regarding decay resistance.

Termite, Fungi and Wood Borer resistance: Black Palm is resistant against against all kind of wood borer, fungi and termites or white ants.

Moisture Resistant: It is resistant to high moisture. So, could be easily used in moisture content area like bathroom, swana, swimming pool area.

Usable portion of Palm Tree: Although Black Palm trees can get up to several feet across, the center of the trunk is filled with a soft, unfigured portion, with only the outer areas of the trunk containing the characteristic colored fibers, so only narrow boards and spindle-stock are normally available.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Excellent for exterior wood: Problems like fading, checking, cracking are common do not raise for palm wood used as louver, front gate, fencing, wall cladding if Black palm wood is exposed to rain, sunlight, dew, UV light and temperature fluctuations.


Comparative properties of Black Palm (Borassus flabellifera) and other wood species.*

Wood Species Janka Hardness Average Dried Weight Specific Gravity Crushing Strength


Black Palm  (Borassus falbellifer) 2,020 lbf (9,000 N) 61 lbs / ft3 (970 kg/m3)** Basic: .79   12% MC: 0.97** 10,190 lbf / in2 (70.3 Mpa) Radial: ˜5.5%  Tangential: ˜5.5%  Volumetric: ˜11.0%                T/R Ratio: ˜1.00
California Redwood  (Sequoia sempervirens) 450 lbf (2,000 N) 26 lbs/ft3 (415 kg/m3) Basic: 0.36  12% MC: 0.42 5,690 lbf/in2 (39.2 MPa) Radial: ˜2.4%  Tangential: ˜4.7%  Volumetric: ˜6.9%   T/R Ratio: ˜2.0
Teak             (Tectona grandis) 1,070 lbf (4,740 N) 41 lbs/ft3 (655 kg/m3) Basic: 0.55  12% MC: 0.66 7,940 lbf/in2 (54.8 MPa) Radial: ˜2.6%  Tangential: ˜5.3%  Volumetric: ˜7.2%  T/R Ratio: ˜2.0
Jarrah    (Eucalyptus marginata) 1,860 lbf (8,270 N) 52 lbs/ft3 (835 kg/m3) Basic: 0.66  12% MC: 0.84 9,600 lbf/in2 (66.2 MPa) Radial: ˜6.3%  Tangential: ˜9.4%  Volumetric: ˜16.4%                T/R Ratio: ˜1.5
Western Red Cedar     (Thuja plicata) 350 lbf (1,560 N) 23 lbs/ft3 (370 kg/m3) Basic: 0.31  12% MC: 0.37  4,560 lbf/in2 (31.4 MPa) Radial: ˜2.4%  Tangential: ˜5.0%  Volumetric: ˜6.8%   T/R Ratio: ˜2.1
Northern White Cedar               (Thuja occidentalis) 320 lbf (1,420 N) 22 lbs/ft3 (350 kg/m3) Basic: 0.29 12% MC: 0.35 3,960 lbf/in2 (27.3 MPa) Radial: ˜2.2%  Tangential: ˜4.9%  Volumetric: ˜7.2%  T/R Ratio: ˜2.2
Ipe             (Tabebuia spp) 3,510 lbf (15,620 N) 69 lbs/ft3 (1,100 kg/m3) Basic: 0.91  12% MC: 1.10 13,600 lbf/in2 (93.8 MPa) Radial: ˜5.9%  Tangential: ˜7.2%  Volumetric: ˜12.4%                T/R Ratio: ˜1.2
Bald Cypress  (Taxodium distichum) 510 lbf (2,270 N) 32 lbs/ft3 (515 kg/m3) Basic: 0.42  12% MC: 0.51 10,600 lbf/in2 (73.1 MPa) Radial: ˜3.8%  Tangential: ˜6.2%  Volumetric: ˜10.5%               T/R Ratio: ˜1.6
Jatoba  (Hymenaea courbaril) 2,690 lbf (11,950 N) 57 lbs/ft3 (910 kg/m3) Basic: 0.77  12% MC: 0.91 11,780 lbf/in2 (81.2 MPa) Radial: ˜4.2%    Tangential: ˜8.0%  Volumetric: ˜12.1%            T/R Ratio: ˜1.9
White Oak  (Quercus alba) 1,350 lbf (5,990 N) 47 lbs/ft3 (755 kg/m3) Basic: 0.60  12% MC: 0.75 7,370 lbf/in2 (50.8 MPa) Radial: ˜5.6%  Tangential: ˜10.5%  Volumetric: ˜16.3%                T/R Ratio: ˜1.9
African Ebony  (Diospyros crassiflora) 3,080 lbf (13,700 N) 60 lbs/ft3 (955 kg/m3) Basic: 0.82  12% MC: 0.96 11,060 lbf/in2 (76.3 MPa) Radial: ˜8.3%  Tangential: ˜11.2%  Volumetric: ˜19.6%           T/R Ratio: ˜1.3

*Source: Wood Database (

** As per own estimation the specific gravity of Black palm is 1.1 (appx). It sinks in water clearly indicating its Specific Gravity higher than 1.

 Compiled by: Safeway Tropical Products. June, 2015

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