Rosewood is the trade name for various types of wood from trees of the genus Dalbergien ( Dalbergia ) from the subfamily of the Fabaceae. Rosewood is a highly rated fine wood for centuries. There is confusion with the term Rosewood, the palissandre in French, in English rosewood and in Portuguese means Jacarandá. The English term rosewood is almost always mistranslated as " rosewood ", but not equivalent to the German term rosewood, which names a single species under the Palisanderhölzern, known as Bahia Rosewood ( Dalbergia decipularis ). The genus Jacaranda, where there is also also a so-called Palisanderholzbaum ( blaublühender Jacaranda ) is different from the genus Dalbergia and therefore has nothing to do with rosewood.

Rosewood species

  • Rio rosewood ( Dalbergia nigra) is also known in English-speaking Brazilian Rosewood. In Brazil, since 1968, there is a ban on exports of round wood of this kind in 1992 was rosewood placed under the protection of species and 1998 under the more stringent protection of species ( CITES list, Annex I) ( CITES listed ). Until that time, it was highly sought after for high-quality furniture and upscale room amenities as well as because of its unique sound characteristics for acoustic guitars and other musical instruments. After insertion of the trade ban, the wood has become virtually worthless, since every sale without a valid CITES document is forbidden and this is possibly sanctioned by the nature conservation authorities with high fines.
  • East Indian Rosewood ( Dalbergia latifolia ). It originally came from India, but there is very rare because of the overuse and is therefore bred since about 1980 in Indonesia on plantations. This wood is represented under the name sonokeling in trade, but does not have the same good properties as genuine East Indian rosewood.
  • Sheesham ( Dalbergia sissoo ) is an originally native to India Type, which is also known there as Sissoo or Thali. Today, this wood is grown particularly in Pakistan on plantations because the large demand can be met by the wood only by this fast-growing tree plantations.
  • Santos rosewood ( Machaerium spp.) Is not a true Rosewood, but is often mistakenly referred to as traders of timber and belongs to the legume family.
  • Honduras rosewood ( Dalbergia stevensonii ) grows in Central America up to be big trees diameter and has a rather unusual bright pink color.


Rosewood has - depending on the variety - a light brown - black to almost entirely black ( rosewood ) or dark violet brown ( Indian rosewood ) staining and high hardness. Therefore, it is preferably used for veneers, knife handles and used in wood turning.

A great importance has rosewood instrument making. It is used because of its density, hardness and sound characteristics for marimbas and xylophones. In the guitar to use these outstanding properties for fingerboards, backs and sides. Also Recorders are often turned from rosewood. For the design of gaming tables large pipe organs occurs since the early 20th century also used and gives the instruments a noble character.