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Plants > Ornamental & Shade Trees > Tonka bean tree

Dipterix panamensis

Tonka bean tree , Almendro de montaña

Almendro de montaña  is native and only grows in southern Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. 

Dipteryx panamensis is a large-size tree that can reach 60 m (197 feet) in height and 1 to 1.6 m (3.25 to 5.25 feet) in diameter. Some reach 2 m (6.5 feet) in diameter. It has a cylindrical trunk with ample basal roots but without buttresses (over very humid soils, basal roots could grow higher, seeming like buttresses although they are not). It has a grey-red-brown, smooth bark with vertical lenticels (spongy, raised cells that permit gas exchange between the interior of the tree and the atmosphere), ascendant (up-reaching) branches, and a semispherical crown.

The wood of the almendro has an extraordinary hardness, and it is considered as one of the heaviest woods around the world. But it was not used until the mid-1980s because it was so difficult to saw and work with due to its weight and density. After that, with the new chain saw technology using higher carbon steel or the diamond-tipped type of chain saw, these big trees have been disappearing from the landscape. This handsome wood is becoming more and more popular, as its hardness makes it useful in heavy construction projects like railroad and bridge building. It rates high in mechanical resistance, making it very valuable in industries like the manufacture of sporting goods. The transition between brown-yellow sapwood and yellow-red heartwood is very gradual and difficult to detect, making this wood even more attractive.


Plant Characteristics

purple-pink flowers grouped at the sides or ends of the branches

Bloom Cycle
May through September.

Additional Information



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