Dalbergia retusa (Cocobolo, rose wood)
Viable seeds / kg (approx.): 8,130
Minimum purchase: 100 g
Cocobolo occurs naturally in the
Pacific slopes of southwest Mexico to Panama. It is threatened and very rare in
its natural habitat. It reaches heights between 15 and 20 m and diameters (DBH) between 40 and 70 cm, with an irregular stem, sometimes straight and generally
The tree has the ability to fix
nitrogen, and is used mostly in ecological restoration programs and in
association with other forest species or crops. The wood is classified as
precious, and it is hard, very fine and valuable, red or reddish brown to black, with
irregular dark stripes. It is used for cabinets, in the manufacture of sporting
goods, gun handlings, scientific instruments and crafts.
It is a heliophyte species that
occurs in warm climates of the Pacific zone, usually at low altitude or up to
700 masl, dry to wet climate with less than 2000 mm of rainfall per year, and mean
temperatures of 25-35ºC.
It grows in a great variety of
soils, from deep and fertile to rocky, but obviously in the former it reaches
Seeds and nursery
As a pre-germination treatment it
is recommended to immerse fresh seeds in running water at room temperature for
12-24 hours. If the seeds have been stored for a long time, it is suggested to
immerse them in water at 80ºC for one minute and then leave them for 24 hours
in running water at room temperature. For the seedbed it is recommended to use
a loose substrate such as river sand, well washed and disinfected. The seed
should be distributed evenly or in rows 2-3 cm apart, sowing it superficially.
Germination occurs after 5-12 days and transplanting is done when the seedlings
reach 3-5 cm in height and the first true leaves appear. The root is usually
very long, so it must be pruned to about 3 cm in length. When transplanting, be
sure to make a hole deep enough in the substrate to avoid curving up of the
roots. Shade should be provided for the first 2-3 weeks after transplanting,
for instance using shade clothing (saran) 50%. With seeds of good germination it
is possible to sow directly in the containers, placing 1-2 seeds per cavity. Plant
should be in nursery for 4 to 6 months, to reach an appropriate height for its
transfer to the final planting site. A couple of weeks before planting out in
the field it is recommended to reduce watering to stimulate the lignification
of the stems.
In plantations, cocobolo trees need
to grow in competition with fast-growing species, and apply an intensive
pruning program to try to obtain better formed stems with fewer branches. The
species is slow growing. In plantations in the dry Pacific area of Costa
Rica, it has shown mean annual height increments of 0.6-1 m and 1 cm in
diameter, with a volume productivity of 9 m3 / ha / year.
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