​Nanmu in Chinese Furniture

Alternate name / botanical classification:  Nanmu (genus / species is Phoebe nees) and Nanmu Burl (genus / species is douban nan)

Nanmu is a tree that is very resistant to decay and grows large and slowly developing up to 50 to 100cm in diameter and maintaining a straightness along its trunk.  

There are over 30 species of Nanmu's color span a colour spectrum of olive-brown to a reddish-brown. Some species of Nanmu have a looser grain structuring and paler colour and are deemed as inferior.

Ming Dynasty literature references Nanmu Burl as a highly regarded type of wood preferred for cabinets, particularly doors and top panels as well as scholar pieces.  In addition, it is often used for general carpentry and boat construction due to the stability and strength against bending or splitting.  

Nanmu bears a strong pungency in odour when cut and delivers a glistening-smooth polished finish. 

Nanmu is present along the Yangzi River with and is an indigenous to Hainan Island and Vietnam.

Zhennan (True Nanmu) from Sichuan and Guizhou, zinan (Purple Nanmu) from the southeastern and south-central regions, and hongmaoshan nan (Hongmao Mountain Nanmu) from Hainan Island are generally considered to produce the finest timber.