Jatoba is probably most commonly known in North America as “Brazilian Cherry,” and it has been adopted largely by the flooring industry.  The deep red color is stunning, and the hardness and stability make it an excellent flooring option, so this adoption is pretty natural.  But Jatoba is no one-trick pony, and its applications span from inside to outside construction and is commonly used as decking, siding, and exterior furniture.


The wood is from Brazil and is sourced pretty much across the entire country, meaning that it is not just widely available but consistently available year around. As one side of the country is in the rainy season and not moving any lumber, the other is still shipping. And vice versa as the rainy season shifts. This is a key point as many tropical woods can only be shipped during small windows of time during the year, and therefore sourcing and stocking can be an issue later in the year with no material shipping.


Character Green Dry Units
Bending Strength 22510 psi
Max Crushing Strength 10312 11780 psi
Stiffness MOE 2745 1000 psi
Hardness (Janka) 2690 lbs
Specific Gravity .77
Weight 57 lbs/ft3
Density 62 lbs/ft3
Radial Shrinkage 3.8 %
Tangential Shrinkage 7.1 %
Volumetric Shrinkage 11 %



Jatoba wood
Freshly milled Jatoba is a light reddish brown

Like most tropical woods, Jatoba is highly resistant to rot and insects, but it can actually be the more preferable wood to use.  While dense, it is not nearly as dense and heavy as some of its other Brazilian brothers like Ipe and Cumaru.  This slightly lower density means it is still very durable, yet it will acclimate better during the adjustment period from lumber yard to installation and from season to season.

Jatoba is another wood that will change color after it is milled. Initially, the wood is quite light in color, and over time it darkens into a deep red. Eventually, like all wood in exterior situations, it will gray in the sunlight unless regularly treated. The color change is pretty fast, and freshly milled Jatoba can darken after an afternoon spent in the sun.

The greatest feature of Jatoba is the versatility to use the wood both inside as well as outside. With a strong trend towards outdoor living spaces along with merging them to the interior spaces, Jatoba is an excellent choice for your flooring and decking to create a unified living space with beautiful and durable wood throughout.


Jatoba Brazilian Cherry
Here is a sample of Jatoba that has been sunned for several days

Jatoba goes by two names. “Brazilian Cherry” is more commonly used in the interior flooring industry, while “Jatoba” is more often used as an exterior decking or siding product. They are the same wood, but in most cases a different product because of how they are sold and dried.

J Gibson McIlvain carries Jatoba for both exterior and interior applications. It is important to recognize that, while the same species, these are essentially different products.

The exterior decking product is sold as an S4S, E4E (surfaced on 4 sides, eased on 4 edges) that is air dried to around an 18% moisture content in order to allow it to acclimate to most exterior conditions.

The interior product is a typical kiln dried hardwood with a moisture content of 6-8% and is sold as rough sawn, or it can be milled to whatever profile your project needs are here at our onsite millworks.


Brazilian cherry flooring

Regardless of what you call it or how you use it, Jatoba can be summed up as a highly durable hardwood with beautiful natural color. It is readily available for a wide range of applications from exterior siding and decking to interior flooring and trim. Whatever your imagination can conjure, this species is up to the task.