Graves, Arthur H. Formerly, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, Connecticut.
Davis, Kenneth P. Formerly, School of Forestry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
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A tree of the genus Guaiacum having remarkable hardness. Lignumvitae (Latin for “wood of life”) is native in the Florida Keys, Bahamas, West Indies, Central America, and South America. In addition, it is cultivated to some extent in southern California and tropical Florida. Lignumvitae is an evergreen tree of medium size with abruptly pinnate leaves. The tree yields a resin or gum known as gum guaiac or resin of guaiac, which is used in medicine. The very heavy black heartwood is used in bowling balls, blocks and pulleys, and parts of instruments. The Janka hardness for lignumvitae is 4500 lb-force (2041 kg-force); its density is 77 lb/ft3 (1233 kg/m3). The two chief species are G. sanctum (known as holywood lignumvitae) and G. officinale (see illustration). See also: Forest and forestry; Resin; Tree; Zygophyllales
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