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SAN JUAN

Yemeri / Vochysia guatemalensis

Local Names
Yemeri, Plumero, Quarubatinga, Gomo, Bella Maria, Goma Amarilla, Soroga, Quaruba, Quillo, Corpus Corosillo, Dormilon, Tin-Tin, Kwari, Kouali, Chambo Caspi
Distribution & Tree
San Juan (commercially known as yemeri or quaruba) is found native throughout the tropical Americas from southern Mexico to Peru in areas up to 700 meters above sea level. It’s green year-round. The trees have their highest growth on coastal plains and along waterways. In Izabal, we’ve found that it forms pure stands when left to regenerate on abandoned pasture. It’s easily identified by its straight, cylindrical trunk and white and yellow flowers. It reaches heights of 50 meters and diameters of 150 centimeters.
Wood Appearance

When freshly cut, the heartwood is red but turns to a uniform pale golden-brown or pinkish-brown as the wood dries in the open air. It has a moderate to high luster and a coarse grain that varies from slightly to highly interlocked. It often has well defined streaks sometimes with parallel dark vertical bands. The wood has been suggested as a lower-cost and more environmentally-friendly substitute for threatened Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata). In Peru, it’s referred to as cedrillo due to similarities. It has a light to medium density, medium hardness and quite strong with good dimensional stability.

Processing Properties
San Juan is easily worked by hand and machine tools. It takes glue, paint, and nails well and polishes to a good finish. The wood can blunt cutting edges due to relatively elevated silica content. It’s easy to sand and plane although the grain can become wooly. It peels well for veneer. It takes a finish well once a grain sealer has been applied to fill the wood pores.
Strength & Durability
The wood is moderately resistant to rot and insects but cannot be left exposed to wet climates but can withstand temporary dampness. Both heartwood and sapwood are readily impregnated with preservatives. Its hardness is similar to white and red oak.
Wood Uses
San Juan is used in carpentry, utility plywood, interior trim, or millwork. It’s used as an internal framing component of fine furniture, although it is commonly left exposed for utilitarian cabinets, desks, chairs and indoor ceilings. The wood can be treated with boron salts in order to preserve it against temporary humidity and extend its useful life. It’s been traditionally used to build canoas used on Lake Izabal.
Ecological & Social Importance
The dried, ground leaves of San Juan have been used as an adhesive of natural dyes to fabrics. In Costa Rica it’s frequently employed as a plantation species due to its fast growth and uniform trunk. It’s an excellent species for improving degraded soils as it’s tolerant of aluminum in the soil and can improve organic material quickly.
Reference Species
Technical CharacteristicsSan JuanWhite OakBlack Maple
Densitykg/m3550750640
Janka Hardnesskgf605612535
Bending Stiffness (Modulus of Elasticity)GPa12.012.211.2
Bending Strength (Modulus of Rupture)MPa74.0102.391.7
Crushing StrengthMPa43.050.846.1
Shrinkage, Radial%1.6%5.6%4.8%
Shrinkage, Tangential%4.4%10.5%9.3%
Shrinkage, Volumetric%9.0%16.3%14.0%
T/R Ratio2.81.91.9
Values determined at 12% humidity

DENSITY

JANKA HARDNESS

BENDING STIFFNESS

BENDING STRENGTH

CRUSHING STRENGTH

SHRINKAGE

Values are for reference only and cannot be guaranteed. Wood is a natural material and physical and mechanical properties may vary depending on age, genetics, and other factors. We encourage customers to consult the references provided in the bibliography. For further explanations of wood’s key technical characteristics, an excellent resource is the Wood Database with articles on Density (average dried weight); Janka hardness; Elastic Modulus; Rupture Modulus; Crushing Strength; Radial, Tangential and Volumetric Shrinkage.

ReferencesView Source
"Lesser Used Timber Species of Guyana." Itto/Guyana Forestry Commission.
“Propiedades y Usos de la Madera de San Juan Peludo.” CUPROFOR/ITTO. 1999.
Cedrillo. "Maderas del Peru", Promdex/WWF/USAID/INIA
Gutiérrez Pacheco, L. "Como elegir maderas según los usos en arquitectura y construcción." Universidad Privada Antenor Orrego.
Laboratorio de Ecología de Poblaciones y Comunidades Tropicales, UNAM
Palo de Agua. "Guía de Especies Forestales de Nicaragua." Orgut Consulting AB. MARENA/INAFOR. 2002
Quaruba. Data Sheets. “The main technological characteristics of 245 tropical wood species.” Tropix 7. CIRAD.
Quaruba. Hout Database
Quaruba. Silva Guzmán, José Antonio. 2008. Fichas técnicas sobre características y usos de maderas comercializadas en México. Tomo II. Comisión Nacional Forestal (CONAFOR). Guadalajara, Jalisco. México 8.
Quaruba. Vignote Peña "Principales Maderas Tropicales Utilizadas en España." Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Vochysia ferruginea. ITTO Lesser Used Species
Vochysia guatemalensis. Cordero, J. Boshier, D. "Arboles de Centroamerica: Un manual para extensionistas." Oxford/Catie. 2003
Vochysia guatemalensis. Vozzo, J.A. (ed) "Manual de Semilas de Arboles Tropicales." 2010.
Vochysia lanceolata. ITTO Lesser Used Species
Vochysia maxima. ITTO Lesser Used Species
Vochysia spp. Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheets. Forest Products Laboratory. USDA Forest Service.
Vochysia vismiifolia. ITTO Lesser Used Species