Southeast Asian Rambutan, Nephelium lappaceum, is a medium-sized tropical tree that grows within about 10 degrees of the Equator. The fruit produced by the tree is also known as "Rambutan". The earliest record of Rambutan trees show that they were cultivated by the Malayan jungle tribes around their temporary settlements. Rambutan trees grow to a height of 35-60 ft. producing boards that are 2-5 ft. long with widths of 2-8". The tree grows from sea level up to 1,600 ft. with best growth in deep soil; clay loam or sandy loam rich in organic matter, and thrives on hilly terrain as it requires good drainage. The wood is similar in color to Goncalo Alves and equally as dense and durable. It is perhaps a bit deeper in its orange color and has some pink or red colors as well. It can be found with a dense flame figure that rivals the nicest curly maple. Sharp blades are needed as the wood is extremely dense and tough. It is worth the effort as the high natural polish possible with this wood is very beautiful.
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