15 Different Types Of Ebony Wood From Around The World

Oak is not the only type of hardwood. Hardwoods are made from trees that have a harder wood than softwoods, which come from coniferous trees such as pine and spruce. Ebony is one of these types of hardwood, and has many different uses in furniture and other industries.

History Of Ebony Wood

Ebony wood comes from trees in the genus Diospyros, and it has been used since antiquity. The name ebony is derived from the Ancient Egyptian hbny, meaning black. Ebony is one of the most expensive types of wood because it is hard to find and difficult to work with.

Uses Of Ebony Wood

Ebony wood is used to make piano keys, billiard cues and balls, and belt buckles. It is also used for knife handles, inlays on instruments such as guitars or violins, jewelry boxes, and other decorative pieces. Ebony wood has black streaks that look like the grain of a lighter-colored wood.

Types Of Ebony Wood

Ebony wood is a hard ornamental wood that is native to tropical Africa. It can be black, dark brown, or violet-black in color. There are many different types of ebony wood:    

1. African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon)

African blackwood, or African ebony is a species of tropical hardwood tree in the family Fabaceae. It is native to Madagascar and Mozambique (Africa).

The dense, fine-grained, hard, reddish-brown heartwood yields an . African blackwood is one of the best decorative exotic woods available and used in wood turning, electrical and mechanical parts, musical instruments and craft. It is also a good choice for carving.

2. Macassar Ebony (Diospyros celebica)

Macassar Ebony is not a true ebony, but it looks like one. It has a fine to medium texture with a wavy grain and small uniform dark brown or blackish growth rings.

Macassar Ebony can be polished to a deep luster that resembles other Asian hardwoods such as the East Indian Rosewood or the Philippine Mahogany. Macassar Ebony is an excellent wood for turning, carving and fine furniture.

3. Ceylon Ebony (Diospyros ebenum)

Ceylon Ebony is a dense, fine textured wood that can be polished to a deep luster. It has uniform dark brown or black growth rings and veins. Ceylon Ebony displays good stability in changes of temperature and humidity. It works easily with both hand and machine tools, yet finishes smoothly.

The heartwood of Diospyros ebenum ranges from a reddish brown to dark grayish brown. The sapwood is lighter in color, being a creamy white or yellowish color.

4.Afrormosia (Terminalia superba)

Afrormosia is a hardwood tree from Africa and India. It has very dark brown to almost black heartwood with pale sapwood that is nearly white in color. Afrormosia's grain is usually straight, but it can have interlocked or wavy grains as well. With its high density, afrormosia works well with hand and machine tools. The wood has a scent similar to cedar when cut, but it is a much heavier wood.

Afrormosia makes good furniture and decorative items due to its straight grains and fine texture. This wood is widely used in the production of veneer and plywood due to its durability.

5. Satine / Sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum)

Satine is a medium-sized tree native to tropical West Africa. The wood has a coarse texture with irregular dark brown and light brown growth rings. Satine's heartwood is almost black or purple in color, with sapwood that is pale yellow or cream.

Satine works easily with a variety of tools. It is commonly used for turning, carving, and fine furniture making. Satine also has many other names including African Blackwood, African Rosewood, Sapele Ebony or Sapelli.

6. Camagon (Pterocarpus indicus)

Camagon is one of the world's rarest ebony species. It is an endangered hardwood tree found in India, mainly in Assam. Camagon wood is a dark chocolate brown with a satin luster and fine texture.

It has wide growth rings that are mostly light colored with some black streaks. Camagon is a highly figured wood with an interlocking grain, these figures include flowers, butterflies, as well as abstract patterns.

It is used for decorative inlays and fancy carvings. The fine texture of the ebony allows it to take on a very sharp edge when cut into thin pieces which can then be used to make chess pieces and calligraphy pens. Camagon is also used to make high end musical instruments like guitars, violins, pianos, harps etc.

7. Xipo / Anigre (Bowdich virgineoides )

Xipo/ Anigre is one of the rarest ebony species native to Central in West Africa. Sipo trees are massive and grow up to 150 feet tall, with a diameter of 3-4 ft at chest height. The trunk is straight and grows smooth over time.

The wood is usually dark brown or deep purple, with black streaks running through the rays.

The wood produced from this tree is similar to that of Wenge (Millettia laurentii), but it has a finer texture and its density is greater. The flavor or color of Sipo/ Anigre ranges from a deep, dark brown color to purple, with some pieces having stripes. Ebony wood from this tree is used by luthiers to make high quality guitars, and also helps in making xylophones.

8. Panga Panga (Pentaclethra macroloba)

Another rare species of ebony, native to South America, found in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, is Panga Panga. The tree grows 25-45 ft tall with a diameter of about 4 ft at chest height. Its dense wood is mostly purple to dark brown in color, and it has pale streaks going through it.

Panga Panga ebony is used mainly by guitar makers, as the results are stunning once a sleek finish has been applied. The wood is also used to make high-end musical instruments like violins, flutes, cellos and pianos.

9. Kiaat (Picria excelsa )

Kiaat is a native of Sub – Saharan Africa and thrives well in dry areas. This tree grows up to 60 ft tall with a trunk diameter of 4-5 ft at chest height. Kiaat trees produce creamy – brown timber with dark brown streaks running through the wood.

It is a very dense hardwood, which makes it highly durable and strong. This tree can live for more than 500 years, making it one of the oldest species that produces ebony wood.

Kiaat is mainly used to make high-end wood furniture, but some people also use it to carve statues and ornaments. The interlocking grain makes for a beautiful texture that can be polished up really well.

10. Makore (Tieghemopanax papyriferus)

Makore is a large tree native to the West and Central Africa region. The heartwood is reddish brown and its sapwood is white in color. Mokore's grain often has interlocked or wavy patterns.

The wood is very hard and heavy, making it difficult to work with. Makore is used mainly by woodworkers for the production of high-end furniture such as cabinets, chairs and tables. It is also specialized in making luxury carvings for museums or private collectors.

11. Mpingo (Mpingo/ Champia parviflora)

Mpingo is found in East Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. It is a rare tree that grows up to 60 ft tall with a diameter of about 4 ft at chest height. Its trunk is straight with a dark and rough bark which can grow to be about 6 inches thick.

Mpingo has a reddish color when young, but then it turns darker brown as it ages. The wood grains are interlocked, straight and have a fine texture. Also, there are pale rays that run through the dark colored grain of this ebony.

Mpingo is very durable and strong as it can be used to make furniture, kitchenware, interior woodwork or even sculptures. It is a beautiful species of ebony with pinkish-brown color tones that can easily be polished up for making luxurious items.

12. Pink Ivory (Baphia nitida)

Pink Ivory has a nickname of "Elephant Wood"; it is native to the Congo basin, hence very similar in appearance and texture to elephant ivory. The heartwood is yellowish-brown in color with dark brown streaks running through it. It grows slowly and takes up a lot of space because its trunk reaches 10 ft in diameter after 100 years.

It has a straight grain and is durable, making it perfect for the production of high-end furniture. It is also used to make luxury carvings for art and hobby purposes.

13. Staining Wood (Guibourtia ehie)

Staining wood has two different common names, due to its appearance and usefulness; "Chopewood" or "Wenge". The reason for this is that Wenge comes from Central Africa, where it grows in the dry savannahs.

It grows up to 60 ft tall and about 15 ft wide with a trunk diameter of around 4-5 ft at chest height. Its bark is usually smooth, but can also be slightly rough. It has a dark brown heartwood with pale streaks running through it.

Staining wood is highly durable and flexible, so it can be used to make high-quality items such as furniture, interior woodwork, sculptures and even musical instruments. It is also very dense so it takes quite a while to wear down. At the same time, its grain is straight which makes it easier to work with than other species of ebony wood.

14. Blue Mahoe (Cordia dodecandra)

Blue Mahoe is a species of ebony that produces the best sound when tapped. This tree is native to Mexico, Central America and South America where it grows in river valleys at a medium altitude. It can grow up to 50 ft tall with a trunk diameter of 4-5 ft and it has a bark that is smooth and dark brown in color.

Blue Mahoe has a straight grain with a fine texture. The heartwood is reddish-brown and the sapwood is white, but it can easily be stained if left untreated.

This wood produces very beautiful musical tones when tapped, making it valuable for producing musical instruments such as guitars, xylophones and pianos.

15. Cameroonian Boxwood (Neolamarckia cadamba)

Cameroonian Boxwood is unique in that it produces pink fibers similar to the bark of a cherry tree. It grows at medium altitude and can reach up to 80 ft tall with a trunk diameter of 4-5 ft. Its bark is dark brown which makes it more resistant to insect attacks but still makes it easy to identify.

This wood is very resistant, so it can be used to make items such as furniture, interior woodwork and even flooring. Cameroonian Boxwood has a moderate hardness and straight grain which makes the cutting of high-quality pieces easier in order for them to last longer.


- What is a type of ebony wood and what are the uses?

There are many different types of ebony wood, all with many different uses. Ebony is a very hard and durable wood that can be used to make items such as furniture, kitchenware or even musical instruments.

- What are the most popular species of ebony today?

The most popular species of ebony wood are Mpingo, Bog Oak and Gibnut. These types of ebony grow in other parts of the world outside Africa, but their heartwood is still very similar to African Ebony.

- How do wood pieces get their color?

Wood is made up of tiny cellulose fibers bundled together. The density of these fibers determines the hardness of the piece, which makes it easier to work with and gives it its natural function or purpose. This is why a log that has fallen from a tree stays intact because its fibers are tightly bunched together and it has a thick outer layer to protect itself from insects, animals or weather.

Decaying wood also has fibers that are tightly bunched together but they can be easily separated so pieces of this type of ebony wood tend to break more easily. Color is determined by the pigment in the wood's cortex which makes up most of its thickness. It is directly under the bark, which is where most of a tree's vital functions take place. The color of the heartwood depends on what minerals are present in that area.

- What is the definition of exotic hardwood?

Exotic hardwoods are species of wood that usually do not grow in certain climate zones and environments making them rarer than usual.

These types of woods are generally a little more expensive because they cannot be found easily, making them more valuable. They have many different uses and can be used to make items such as guitar necks, decorative pieces or even exotic furniture (hutches).


Ebony wood is a very popular type of hardwood that ranges from black in color to dark brown, with many different uses. It has a high density which makes it very versatile and durable. Ebony is easy to work with using hand tools or power tools, making it a classic choice for woodworking projects.

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