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Rabo de Iguana: The Exotic Hardwood from the Heart of Latin America

Posted on August 10, 2023


Rabo de Iguana Hardwood | Latin America’s Exquisite Timber for Flooring

In the heart of Latin America, where the rhythms of life echo with ancient songs, there thrives a wood called Rabo de Iguana, a poetic name that whispers “tail of the iguana lizard.” This is no ordinary timber. It is a relic of the forest, a dense and exotic hardwood, equally at home in the vast factories as it is beneath the feet of a family in their cherished abode. This wood breathes tales of Colombia, Venezuela, and the Peruvian landscapes. Its names are as varied as the lands it springs from: huilca, bocachico, carbonero, carabali. From the very roots of Piptadenia pittieri, the majestic tree that bestows this unique lumber, there arises a story of resilience and artistry. The trees, soaring to heights of 65 feet, stand tall with pride, their trunks rarely stretching beyond two feet in diameter. Yet it’s not just their impressive stature that captures the heart; it’s their purity. Nature has sculpted them with an artist’s hand – often branchless for spans as long as 50 feet, almost their entire stature, gifting woodworkers with a canvas free of the usual knot holes. Woodworkers admire Rabo de Iguana not just for its flawlessness, but for the tale it tells with its grain. Touch it, and one feels the silken stories ranging from the finest to a medium texture, gleaming with an innate luster. And just like the forests it springs from, no two pieces narrate the same tale. Some grains run straight and true, like the rivers coursing through the Amazon, while others meander in unpredictable paths, much like life itself. Its heart, a rich palette of reddish or yellowish browns, occasionally blends seamlessly with its lighter sapwood, making it hard to discern where one ends and the other begins. Yet, as with all treasures, Rabo de Iguana needs its guardians. Left unshielded, it becomes vulnerable to nature’s smaller, often unseen artisans: insects and fungi. But, treated with the respect it deserves, sealed and preserved, this wood continues to tell its story, providing a foundation of beauty and history for generations to come.

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