Tulipwood Properties | Uses, Pros and Cons

Tulipwood is hard, durable and insect-resistant hardwood. It is a light-colored hardwood used for woodworking and other construction applications.

Tulipwood is also known as “Tulip Lancewood” and “Brazilian Tulipwood”. It comes from the small to medium-sized rainforest tree native to Northeastern Brazil. Brazilian Tulipwood is considered a true rosewood in the Dalbergia genus. The tree is found in a limited region and is in short supply.

Characteristics of Tulipwood

Scientific nameDalbergia decipularis
Tree Size20-30 ft (6-9 m) tall, less than 1 ft (.3 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight60 lbs/ft3 (970 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness2,500 lbf (11,120 N)
WorkabilityEasy to work

Common Uses of Tulipwood

Tulipwood is commonly used for cabinetry, furniture, millwork, trim, veneers, flooring, musical instruments, craftsmanship and turning. Tulipwood is a versatile wood that can be used for almost all woodworking applications.

Is Tulipwood good for the outdoors?

Tulipwood can be used outside with regular care because it has low decay resistance. It is not rot-resistant, which can not withstand extreme weather. The wood species you can choose for outdoor use are teak, rosewood, mahogany and walnut, which are very rot-resistant.


Tulipwood is a beautiful hardwood that ranges from yellowish to light brown with a slight green or olive tint, and the sapwood is pale yellow. Wood is not easy to differentiate between heartwood and sapwood.

The color of the wood depends on the species and tree age. The wood has a fine, uniform texture with straight grain patterns.

Tulipwood turns darker when it is exposed to air or UV light. Its natural color can be preserved for some time by sealing and finishing.

Working with Tulipwood

Generally, Tulipwood is not easy to work with because it is very hard and denser. Due to its high density, it creates a blunt effect on the blade during machining. That’s why you should use a sharp blade while working.

Tulipwood gives shine and smooth results after finishing because it contains a lot of silica. But due to the silica, it can not be easily glued.


Tulipwood is a hard and heavy hardwood. Tulipwood’s density is greater than other hardwoods such as oak, maple or walnut. Its hardness makes it an excellent choice for dent and scratch-proof floors.

Here is the Janka hardness of some popular woods along with the Tulipwood to give you an idea of how hard Tulipwood is.

Wood SpeciesJanka Hardness
Claro Walnut1,130 lbf (5,030 N)
Dogwood2,150 lbf (9,560 N)
Honey Mesquite2,340 lbf (10,410 N)
Santos Mahogany2,400 lbf (10,680 N)
Bubinga2,410 lbf (10,720 N)
Tulipwood2,500 lbf (11,120 N)
Live Oak2,680 lbf (12,920 N)
Brazilian rosewood2,790 lbf (12,410 N)
Gaboon Ebony3,080 lbf (13,700 N)

Pros and Cons of Tulipwood

Tulipwood is a durable hardwood used for woodworking, but it has some pros and cons that should be known before using Tulipwood.


  • Attractive Appearance: Tulipwood is an attractive wood species that can come in many colors that make it unique from other woods.
  • Durable: Tulipwood is a durable and stable hardwood that requires less care and maintenance than many other hardwoods.
  • Rot and Weather Resistant: Tulipwood contains natural oil (silica), making it resistant to rot and insect attacks. So it does not require chemical treatments like other hardwoods.


  • Not Easy To Work: The stiffness and heavyweight make it difficult to work with hand and machine tools.
  • Expensive: Although Tulipwood is found only in North America, its availability is limited to certain regions or markets. So less availability affects the cost of the wood.

Is Tulipwood a Hardwood?

Yes, Tulipwood is considered a hardwood. Hardwoods come from deciduous or broad-leaf trees, which generally have a slower growth rate than softwoods and a higher wood density.

Is Tulipwood Durable?

Yes, Tulipwood is durable and stable hardwood, but it is not typically considered highly durable. It is not recommended for outdoor applications or areas with high moisture.

To increase the durability of Tulipwood, the wood may be chemically treated, or an exterior finish may be applied.

Is Tulipwood Good For Furniture?

Yes, tulipwood is good for interior furniture. It can also be used outdoors but is not recommended for outdoors because it has low decay resistance. It cannot withstand extreme weather for a long time.

Is Tulipwood Good For Kitchens?

Tulipwood is a good choice for kitchen cabinets. It is not harmful in any way. Wood is stable and takes a paint finish well. Oak and Poplar are also the most recommended wood species for kitchen use.

American Tulipwood vs Brazilian Tulipwood?

Brazilian tulipwood is darker and harder than American tulipwood. American tulipwood is light cream to yellowish brown, while Brazilian tulipwood ranges from yellows to light pink.

American tulipwood, also known as yellow poplar or tulip poplar, comes from the tree species Liriodendron tulipifera, and Brazilian tulipwood comes from Dalbergia decipularis (also Dalbergia frutescens).