Padauk wood is obtained from several species of Pterocarpus. All padauks are of African or Asian origin. Padauks are valued for their toughness, stability in use, and decorativeness, most having a reddish wood. Most Pterocarpus woods contain either water- or alcohol-soluble substances and can be used as dyes.
The padauk found most often is African padauk from P. soyauxii which, when freshly cut, is a very bright red/orange but when exposed to sunlight fades over time to a warm brown. Its colour makes it a favourite among woodworkers. Burmese padauk (?) is P. macrocarpus while Andaman padauk is P. dalbergioides. Padauks can be confused with true rosewoods to which they are somewhat related, but as a general rule padauks are coarser and less decorative in figure. Like rosewood, padauk is sometimes used to make xylophone, organ and marimba keys, and guitars. It is an important material in traditional Chinese furniture.
Some padauks, e.g. P. soyauxii, are used as herbal medicines, for example to treat skin parasites and fungal infections.
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