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Dalbergia decipularis / Dalbergia frutescens
see fact sheet for discussion of botanical name

my samples:

both sides of a sample plank of tulipwood / Dalbergia frutescens --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The French name on the label, "bois de rose veritable" means "genuine rosewood", and actually IS one of the common names for this species.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

NOT a raw wood color
sample plank, with a finishing agent, shot in a woodworking store. HUGE enlargements are present

plank and end grain

a piece from the same plank as the sample above, but this one has been oiled and as you can see the oil enhances the natural beauty of the wood and particularly darks the end grain.

HIGH GRIT END GRAIN CLOSEUP from directly above. The sanding process got rid of the oil and the dark color is entirely due to the sanding process, as explained in the link

plank and end grain

end grain closeup (upside down) and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above

a couple of small planks

end grain of both of the planks directly above

two sides of a turning "stick" and showing only sapwood on one side, causing the picture to look a little weird. This is a very pale piece of tulipwood.

two sets of sticks. I put the best of the lot in the first batch and the worst of the lot in the second batch. In trying to get the color right, I made the second batch have a little too much gold in the cream color. The pale sapwood in the top piece of the first batch is very accurate and the cream color in those pieces is more accurately portrayed than in the 2nd batch.

Two shots of the best piece of tulipwood I've ever owned. Colors are very accurate, but somehow the real beauty of the wood doesn't quite come out. When fine sanded and given a coat of clear polyurethane, this is going to be a joy to behold and will be even more attractive than the bowl highlight shown below, although perhaps not quite so dark a red.

a 4.5" long piece of the big one above. When I started cutting off pieces of the big one for projects, this came off due to a crack in the wood, so I fine-sanded it to keep as a sample. The second pic is a face-on view of the surface that is almost vertical at the bottom of the first pic. Although you can't tell it particularly well from the pics, the fine-sanding brought the piece to a pretty high natural gloss.

some project sticks cut from the big turning stick

section and end grain closeup of a piece that sat in my garage for a couple of years and looked just fine but the day after I brought it inside to get an end grain closeup pic, it developed the rather large cracks you see here.

veneer pieces from several different flitches --- note the fairly consistent color throughout

web pics:

logs (I believe the ends have been waxed)

end grain

both sides of a plank


plank and closeup

planks with probably just a hair too much red

a couple of 5-foot-long planks that show the typical irregularity and small size of the tree

some fairly long sections that also show the typical irregularity and narrow width of the trees

the end of a large turning block; color is pretty accurate but the end has been waxed, so it looks brighter than the natural wood

turning stock

sticks with accurate color, one pretty pale and the others much brighter (I believe all to be accurate, although the middle ones might have a slightely exaggerated red)

a set of pen blanks that have been oiled and waxed, which shows how pretty tulipwood can be when finished. NOTE: on the first pic, there is an optical interference pattern in this reduction that goes away if you look at the enlargement.

pen blanks


veneer --- somewhat rare for this species because the trees are small and do not lend themselves to veneer production --- the only reason there IS veneer is because the trees are small and rare and veneer goes further than lumber.

veneer with a green cast that I have not seen myself but cannot rule out as possibly correct.


tulipwood bowl turned and photographed by John Fuher, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. John wasn't sure whether this is Dalbergia decipularis (doesn't seem likely) or Dalbergia frutescens (seems more likely) but in any case we agree that it was legitimately sold to him as Brazilian tulipwood.

spatula by Richard Carlisle

bottle stopper

pistol grips

6" wide, 2" high bowl by Steve Earis. HUGE enlargements are present. This piece of wood was unusually uniform in color but it is recognizably Brazilian tulipwood.\

4.5"x3" bowl turned and photographed by John Fuher whom I thank for the pic. HUGE enlargements are present.

tulipwood as a highlight in the base of a laminated bowl --- this piece was cut from the same plank as the first of my own samples shown above.

tulipwood section on a laminated bowl. The top left pic shows it fresh off the lathe and the top right pic shows it from the inside after a coat of natural stain. The bottom pic is after a coat of natural stain. The lower portion of the piece is sapwood.

bowls by Bryan Nelson (NelsonWood). Bryan fine-polishes his bowls with 1200 or even higher grit sandpaper while they are spinning at high speed on the lathe and then finishes them there with a friction polish of his own devising, thus achieving a shine and color vibrancy that is beautiful to behold. The first of these is about 6" across, the other two about 5".

these pics are all from the BogusColorVendor. I am quite confident that the actual wood in these pictures has nowhere near the orange and yellow and bright red components shown here. Being tulipwood, the actual pieces will be quite beautiful, they just won't look like what is pictured here.

these shots are all of a single large (for tulipwood) piece, which I purchased from the BogusColorVendor. As I've shown in some detail in another section of this site, the actual wood in this piece is a gorgeous chunk of tulipwood and I expect to use it to great effect in several projects, but it is GROSSLY misrepresented in these pictures. It has none of the bright red and none of the yellow shown here. I expected that to be the case when I bought it, because firstly, I am familiar with tulipwood and secondly, I was already familiar with how this vendor consistently misrepresents their product. This is a spectacular piece of tulipwood and I gladly paid the $55+ that it cost. Even with the additional $15 S&H, it came out to about $50/BF which isn't bad for tulipwood, and is actually quite good for a piece this excellent. Still, it just grinds me that they felt the need to so completely misrepresent the wood. As I've explained elsewhere, there just isn't any way this was an accident or an effect of a digital camera; it had to be deliberate color "correction" and it's something they do with most of the wood they sell on eBay. They're not the only vendor to do this, but they are by far the most egregious in my experience. Click HERE to see my whole rant on the subject. (You probably thought you just READ my whole rant on the subject, but I'm just getting warmed up!)