African Blackwood

African Blackwood is an exotic wood native to Eastern Africa and it features a dark brown, even purplish heartwood with dark streaks and is often completely black, with little or no discernible grain. African Blackwood is among the hardest and densest of woods in the world. It is strong, stiff, and very stable, with a fine texture. Considered the original ebony, African Blackwood was imported and used in Ancient Egypt thousands of years ago. Even the name “ebony” has an Egyptian derivation as “hbny”—which has been shown to refer primarily to African Blackwood, rather than the species which are considered to be ebony today. African Blackwood is considered one of the world's finest woods for turning.

Other Names

Dalbergia melanoxylon, Mozambique Ebony, Senegal Ebony, Mpingo (Swahili)


African Blackwood is listed on CITES Appendix II under the genus-wide restriction on all Dalbergia species—which also includes finished products made of the wood. It’s also reported by the IUCN as being near threatened. Technically it doesn’t meet the Red List criteria of a vulnerable or endangered species, but is close to qualifying and/or may qualify in the near future. (Learn More)

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