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Ayous (Obeche) (Triplochiton scleroxylon)


A lightweight timber from the African whitewood tree, Triplochiton scleroxylon. Ayous, commonly called obeche, has a cream color wood with a straight to interlocking grain that produces a ribbon figure on the radial surface. Obeche has a medium texture and is easy to work. It is used for furniture.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Triplochiton scleroxylon; obeche; African whitewood; samba; wawa


Slightly toxic by inhalation and moderately toxic by ingestion. Finished wood and sawdust may cause skin allergies.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Specific gravity = 0.36-40 (air dry)
  • Density = 22-25 ppcf

Resources and Citations

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Gordon Hanlon, contributed information, 1998
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997