Pterogyne nitens

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.

Species Index    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Multiple Criteria Search

Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana

Local names:
Portuguese (viraró,pau fava,ibiráro,ibiraró,guiáro,amendoim viraro,amendoim), Spanish (viraró,tipa colorada), Trade name (viraro)

Pterogyne nitens is a south American tree which attains a maximum height of over 30 m but more commonly not over 25 m with a well-formed trunk, diameter 60-90 cm, exceptionally 120 cm. Branches grey, round, wrinkled and lenticellate.

Leaves alternate, pinnate, with 6 pairs of alternate folioles, petiole sulcate in the upper part, with a strong pulvinus at the base; short petioled folioles, oblong, entire, shiny above and opaque below, with protruding ribs and veins. 

Inflorescence an axillary panicle made up of 3 racemes of small flowers, with yellow, pubescent peduncles, brown at the base, white on top, with a deciduous bract at the insertion of each pedicel.

Fruit a winged achene with pedicel on the seminiferous thick side; the wing is connate to the pericarp by an oblique slit. The back side of the seed has protruding ribs; the wing also has curved wings.

Seed elliptical, long and dark yellow.

The species is becoming rare because of continued exploitation in the areas of natural occurrence. A high genetic variation has been observed in P. nitens, the Instituto Forestal de Sao Paulo maintains 4 base populations and 100 selected trees.

The generic name means 'winged ovary' which later develops into a winged seed whereas the specific name refers to the shiny leaves.


The tree occurs in the dry deciduous forests of the sertoes where there is a well defined dry season.

Native range
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay

Tree management

P. nitens survives well once established. An average height growth of 0.68 m for a one year old provenance trial set up in Pederneiras-SP is recorded. Fruit stays on the tree for a long time and should be picked once ripe. In Brazil seed harvesting commences from April-May.

Germination occurs between 3-47 days after sowing. A 75% germination success after 45 days storage in the open has been observed. There are about 5 500 seeds/kg.

The tree occurs in the dry deciduous forests of the sertoes where there is a well defined dry season.

Direct seeding is the preferred propagation method.

Grows in a range of climatic and soil conditions and can be used in rehabilitation and reclamation projects.

Erosion control:  The root system of P. nitens protects the soil from wind and water erosion.

The branches can be used as fuelwood.

Timber:  Heartwood reddish brown suggesting mahogany often with darker striping; not sharply demarcated from the yellowish-brown sapwood. Luster medium to high; texture medium; grain often roey; without distinctive odour or taste. Has a low retractibility, handsome appearance and medium mechanical resistance. Wood reported to be fairly durable with a basic specific gravity of 0.66. Works easily and finishes smoothly. Used for fine furniture and cabinet work, turnery, floor tiles, veneers, interior trim, cooperage, and steam-bent work. The wood is also recommended for the construction of truck bodies and interiors of railway wagons.

Shade or shelter:  P. nitens is a shade providing tree.

Ornamental:  P. nitens is a beautiful ornamental tree grown in amenity parks in Kenya.

Soil improver:  Leaf litter of P. nitens enriches surrounding soil.

Intercropping:  The tree offers little shade and is unlikely to deleteriously affect other crops.