Ebony is a dark brown to jet black wood that is prized for its color, hardness and density. The wood is prized for making piano keys as well as oboes, clarinets and even bagpipes. Ebony is the most expensive wood found in Africa. Ebony trees are also found in India and Ceylon, but the African ebony is considered the finest. Ebony trees are an important resource to the peoples of Tanzania and Mozambique. Approximately 60, to 80, wood carvers make their living by carving wood from the ebony tree.
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There are three species of ebony: Ceylon, Gabon and Makassar ebony. Ebony tree grows on fertile, moist soil, in tropical rainforests, usually on the lower altitudes. Number of ebony trees in the wild is decreasing due to excessive harvest of these plants from their natural habitats. Ebony is a dense black hardwood, most commonly yielded by several different species in the genus Diospyros, which also contains the persimmons. Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. It is finely-textured and has a very smooth finish when polished, making it valuable as an ornamental wood.
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If you live an arid area and water is hard to come by, the Texas ebony tree Ebenopsis ebano, formerly Pithecellobium flexicaule is considered ideal for providing shade. You can grow it in U. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b through
The principal genus, Diospyros, includes both ebony and persimmon trees. Ebony wood, valued from ancient times, is hard and dark; it is extensively used for piano keys and in cabinetmaking, especially the black Macassar ebony of India and the East Indies. Several species notably D.