any of several timber trees of the genus Pterocarpus of the pea family (Fabaceae or Leguminosae). The name refers especially to P. indicus, or India padauk, or the hard wood, noted for its ability to take a high polish, that is derived from the trees. Narra wood is used for cabinetwork; it is usually red or rose colour, often variegated with yellow, and is hard and heavy. The trunk of the tree is surrounded (or, occasionally, supported) by huge buttresses extending outward and upward for about 5 m (15 feet); these are sometimes made into tabletops, the pattern of the grain and the colouring being hardly equaled by any other timber. A small chip of the wood placed in water soon takes on an opalescent colour because of a substance in the wood cells. Narra wood is known also as Burmese rosewood, Andaman redwood, and kiabooca wood

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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