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GREY MILKWOOD (Cerbera floribunda)

Trade Name

Grey milkwood

Scientific Name

Cerbera floribunda K. Schumann



Common Names

Babai (Indonesia); Brebong (Indonesia); Grey milkwood (Papua New Guinea); Biegbau (Indonesia); Cassowary plum

Description Of The Tree

Botanical Description

Cerbera trees are small to medium sized, up to 30 m tall, reaching a diameter of 90 cm, without buttresses.

Natural Habitat

This species is usually associated with water, it occurs along rivers, in swamp forests and behind mangrove forests.

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Wood Identification

Anatomic Description Of Wood

Wood diffuse porous. Occasionally vessels in diagonal and/or radial pattern. Occasionally vessels in radial multiples of 4 or more common. Occasionally tangential diameter of vessel lumina 100 micras or less. Occasionally tangential diameter of vessel lumina Occasionally axial parenchyma in marginal or in seemingly marginal bands. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty and/or vasicentric. Occasionally prismatic crystals in chambered axial parenchyma cells and/or in fibers. 3 to 4 cells per parenchyma strand. 5 to 8 4 to 10 rays per mm (medium). Occasionally body ray cells procumbent with over 4 rows of upright and/or square marginal cells (Kribs-I). Body ray cells procumbent with mostly 2 to 4 rows of upright and/or square marginal cells (Kribs-II). Fibers very thin walled. Fibers with distinctly bordered pits.


Cites Status


General Wood Description


The heartwood is white to pale yellow-brown, not demarcated from the white sapwood.


The grain varies from straight to slightly interlocked.


The wood is frequently reported to be fine textured.

Natural Durability

It is perishable and prone to be infested wood degrading organisms.

Natural durability index (1= Very high durability, 7=Vey low durability)


Resistance To Impregnation

The heartwood is reported to be resistant to preservative treatment.

Wood Physical Properties

Basic Density or Specific Gravity (O.D. weight/vol. green) (g/cm³)


Air-dry Density (Weight and volume at 12%MC) (g/cm³)


Total shrinkage Tangential (Saturated to 0%MC) (%)


Total shrinkage Radial (Saturated to 0%MC) (%)


Drying Defects

Ease of Drying: Air seasoning is reported to be rapid. It takes about 3 months to dry 4 cm thick boards to air-dry condition. Drying Defects: Some risk of warping and surface checking is reported. Kiln Schedules: Schedule recommended for Mengkulang. A temperature of 57 to 77 degrees and a corresponding relative humidity of 80% to 40% are recommended.

Dimensional stability ratio (Total Tangential Shrinkage %/Total Radial Shrinkage %)


Wood Chemical Properties

Wood Mechanical Properties



Machining operations are rather easy.


End Uses Summary

HOUSING GENERAL, shutter boards, FURNITURE AND CABINETS, common furniture, PLYWOOD AND VENEER, cores, PACKING, OTHER AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, handicrafts, shoes, matches, moldings

General Housing
  • 10 - Silica in Timbers
Shutter Boards
  • 20 - Prospect: The wood database
Furniture Cabinets
  • 21 - Tropical timbers of the world. Part III-Southeast Asian and Oceanian Species.
Furniture, Common
  • 23 - Handbook of Hardwoods
Panels, Veneers
  • 25 - Directory of Timber Trade Malaysia
  • 27 - Embassy of Brazil in Japan
  • 45 - Recopilación y Análisis de Estudios Tecnológicos de Maderas Peruanas
  • 66 - Maderas latinoamericanas. VII. Caracteristicas anatomicas. propiedades fisicomecanicas, de secado, y tratabilidad de la madera juvenil de Cordia alliodora (Ruiz & Pav. Oken.)
  • 70 - Proprietes physiques et mecaniques des bois tropicaux de l`union francaise
  • 71 - Proprietes physiques et mecaniques des bois tropicaux, premier supplement
  • 79 - Padronização da Nomenclatura Comercial Brasileira das Madeiras Tropicais Amazônicas, Sugestão

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