The tree from which jatoba hardwood is sourced has many names. Its Latin, or botanical name is Hymenaea Courbani but it is more commonly known as the Brazilian Cherry, not for any resemblance to the usual cherry tree but for its rich cherry red colour.
Resistant to rot and most insect infestation, the jatoba tree originates from Central and South America and the West Indies and can reach an impressive height of 130 feet. The wood it produces ranges beautifully in colour from a light orangey-salmon brown to a darker reddish brown and as it matures will show its darker red heart. Jatoba responds very well to polishing which will give it a wonderful lustre.
Jatoba as a herbal medicine
Amazonian Indians used the resin produced at the base of the tree in magic rituals, including love potions, and in wedding ceremonies. Throughout South America jatoba has a long and noble history of being used for a huge range of ailments and conditions. The bark of the tree was used to treat diarrhoea, fatigue, dysentery, bladder problems and other problems. The resin was used for upper respiratory and cardiopulmonary illnesses and in Brazil in the 1960s an alcoholic bark extract was marketed as a tonic. In fact Jatoba is still used as such in the US, and also for problems like asthma and bronchial infections. The number of conditions which the components of the Jatoba tree are said to treat are far too numerous to mention here but, considering that scientific research has shown it to be rich in biologically beneficial compounds which protect the living tree itself from moulds and fungi, it is no surprise that those same compounds are beneficial to human health too.
Not just for flooring
This very beautiful hardwood is also extremely strong which means it can require specialist tools to work it but this characteristic means its uses are diverse, ranging from furniture to shipbuilding and railroad ties, tool handles to speciality decorative items. Its beauty and exotic colour range make it perfectly suited to the manufacture of some musical instruments.
However, if you want a hardwood flooring option which is as durable as it is beautiful, jatoba is an excellent choice.