Haematoxylon brasiletto

Common name: Palu di brasil, Brazil, Brazia, Stokvishout, Dyewood, Verfhout
Height: 4 to 5 metres
Features: A rather small tree with strikingly deep grooves in te stem. The branches carry heavy thorns and the leaves are innate and roundish. In the dry time the tree drops the leaves and in this period the trees flowers.

haematoxylon brasiletto tree

Propagation: Important to catch the seedpods before the winds blows them away. Easy to propagate 
Growing: The Haematoxylon brasiletto is able to grow in all areas of the island and is draught resistant once established
Location: All areas

haematoxylon brasiletto seedlings

Brazil tree locally called “Palu di brasil”. The dyewood, or Brazil wood tree (Haematoxylon brasiletto), has a distinctive, twisted shape and a deeply grooved trunk. These trees played an important role in the early history of Bonaire. In fact, the oldest known map of the Caribbean (from 1513) labels the island as "Ysla do Brasil" ("Island of the Brazil tree"). A red dye was extracted from the wood and used for coloring fabrics.

haematoxylon brasiletto flowers

The Dutch seized Bonaire from the Spanish in 1636 in part to gain access to this commercially profitable product. In former centuries the wood was used to prepare a red dye. The wood was shipped to Holland where it was rasped in the “rasp house” to extract the dye which was then used to colour cloth, hence the name Dyewood.

The timber was also used to make bows for stringed instruments

Seed Pods of the Haematoxylon brasiletto