A fast-growing, beautiful canopy tree, Monkey Pod grows in open woodland areas and prairies throughout the tropics. But it’s originally from Central America down through South America into Brazil, where it’s more commonly called “Raintree.” Most likely because its leaves tend to fold up at night, allowing rain to pass through its branches to vegetation below.
Being so adaptable – and maturing within 20 years – the species has been planted everywhere from Southeast Asia to many Pacific Islands. Especially Hawaii, where it not only goes by the name “Monkey Pod,” but grows so abundantly, it’s now valued as an exceptional, eco-friendly alternative to the dwindling supply of Koa wood, delivering a similar “island aesthetic” beauty — at a fraction of the cost.
Like Koa, Monkey Pod features dramatic grain and graceful, repeatable figuring. The color tends to be a golden to dark brown – sometimes with darker streaks – and the clearly demarcated heartwood and sapwood form a beautiful contrast. The grain of Monkey Pod is usually straight, but can be interlocked or wavy, at times with knots and forks, creating highly figured, curly, or wild grain patterns.
Which makes every cut of Monkey Pod as stunningly beautiful as it is unique. Combine that with its comparatively attractive pricing and Monkey Pod becomes an especially exciting choice for wood veneer, architectural plywood, cabinetry, furniture, guitars and ukuleles, and specialty wood items including bowls and plates.
Common / Alternative Names:
CITES Appendices: Not listed
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Not listed