Greenheart - Encyclopedia




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GREENHEART, one of the most valuable of timbers, the produce of Nectandra Rodiaei, natural order Lauraceae, a large tree, native of tropical South America and the West Indies. The Indian name of the tree is sipiri or bibiru, and from its bark and fruits is obtained the febrifuge principle bibirine. Greenheart wood is of a dark-green colour, sap wood and heart wood being so much alike that they can with difficulty be distinguished from each other. The heart wood is one of the most durable of all timbers, and its value is greatly enhanced by the fact that it is proof against the ravages of many marine borers which rapidly destroy piles and other submarine structures of most other kinds of wood available for such purposes. In the Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow, there are two pieces of planking from a wreck submerged during eighteen years on the west coast of Scotland.

The one specimen-greenheart-is merely slightly pitted on the surface, the body of the wood being perfectly sound and untouched, while the other-teak-is almost entirely eaten away. Greenheart, tested either by transverse or by tensile strain, is one of the strongest of all woods, and it is also exceedingly dense, its specific gravity being about 1150. It is included in the second line of Lloyd's Register for shipbuilding purposes, and it is extensively used for keelsons, beams, engine-bearers and planking, &c., as well as in the general engineering arts, but its excessive weight unfits it for many purposes for which its other properties would render it eminently suitable.

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