Spotlight on species – Ipe

The Ipe tree is sometimes known as the Brazilian Walnut, the Guayachan, or the Lapacho and it has received a lot of attention in recent years. This article will shine a spotlight on the species.

What Is Its Botanical Name?

The Ipe is scientifically known as Tabebuia spp. Ipe refers to not one, but seven different tree species within the genus Tabebuia. 

Where Is the Ipe Tree Found?

The Ipe tree is usually found in the Brazilian rainforests and is indigenous from Central America to the north of Argentina and Peru, with one species of Ipe tree native to South America and the Antilles (Trinidad and Tobago). 

What Does the Ipe Tree Look Like?

With an impressive height of up to 150 feet, the Ipe tree has flower clusters that vary in colour. Ipe trees can bloom in a variety of different colours including pink, red, and lavender. 

It can reach a width of up to 50 feet wide at the top (with branches and leaves). Moreover, the trunks are narrow, ranging from 2 to 4 feet in diameter.

What Does Ipe Timber Look Like?

Ipe timber has heartwood that can vary in colour from reddish brown to either a yellowish olive or a darker brown. 

These can sometimes be with contrasting darker stripes. Certain species have powdery yellow deposits in the wood.

The grain varies from straight to interlocked and irregular. It is smooth and often resembles mahogany.

What Properties Does Ipe Timber Have?

Ipe is known as premium decking wood due to its properties. The timber is not only exceptionally durable, but it also has excellent insect resistance. It has brilliant weathering characteristics and is also very stable. 

It can sometimes be difficult to work, due to its high density, but it generally planes smoothly, making it nice to the touch. The density of the wood means that it often needs to be worked on at the sawmill, before pieces are installed.

Ipe’s density also makes it less susceptible to burning. It has a fire rating that is similar to steel and concrete, making it an ideal choice. It also stays cool even in the hot sun.

What Are the Main Uses of Ipe Timber?

Decking is by far the most popular use for Ipe timber. Due to its natural durability– it can last more than 25 years outdoors – stability, smoothness, and how eco-friendly it is, it has become a popular choice for decking in recent years.

Other potential uses of Ipe timber are flooring, outdoor structures, and even outdoor furniture. 

Did You Know?

Ipe was used for the boardwalk along the beach of New York City’s Coney Island and lasted many years before needing to be replaced – even with the amount of traffic, footfall, and environmental stress put upon it.

In conclusion, Ipe is the perfect timber if you are looking for a premium decking option. It is often compared to mahogany and looks beautiful.

Ecochoice can deliver FSC(r)-certified Ipe decking directly to your project, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

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