Logwood tree (Haematoxylon campechianum) is a high tree reaching 10 to 15 meters with reddish trunk,
that appears like a cluster of stems fused together, and thorny branches.
Logwood tree grows in Campeche Bay (Mexico) that’s why it is also known under the name ”Campeche Wood”.
This wood has a great commercial value and as far back as the XVII th century, large plantations of Logwood spread all over Central
and South America. For industrial purposes, only the central part of the truck is suitable.
The pinnate leaves consist of several pairs of reverse heart-shaped leaflets. Showy yellow blossoms
appear throughout the year and are typical of the subfamily Caesalpinioideae, with five spreading petals. The papery seed pods are
unusual among legumes because they split down the middle instead of along the edges. The wood is very hard and dense, freshly cut
stems readily sink in water.
The dark heartwood is the source of the brilliant red dye hematoxylin.
The tinctorial property of Logwood was known from the first millennium by aboriginals of Central America,
the who were calling it "quamochitl". After the invasion of Central America by Spain, Europe started
to use this dyewood in huge quantities, replacing the domestic vegetable dyes – woad and indigo. As a matter of fact, this provoked
a recession in the English conventional dye market leading to various wars between England and Spain in Latin America to control
the Logwood harvests. During the XVIII th century, most of silk, cotton, wool and leather black dyeing was made with Logwood
extract. Two centuries later, in 1950, world consumption of Campeche wood was still of 70,000 tons in spite of hugh competition
from synthetic dyes.
In dyeing techniques the wood of Logwood tree is usually employed obtaining different ranges of red brown and
blue to violet shades.