Caribbean pine

Scientific name

Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis, P. caribaea var. hondurensis, P. caribaea var. caribaea. Family: Pinaceae

Other names

Yellow pine; caribaea pine


  • Medium-size softwood.
  • Grows to 30m.
  • Bark is grey to brown, thick, rough, and scaly.


  • Native of Central America, Cuba and the Bahamas.
  • Extensively planted in Central and North Queensland, and northern New South Wales.
  • More than 50,000 hectares in DAF forest service plantations, making it the second most planted timber species in the state, behind slash pine P. elliottii var. elliottii.
  • Sawn timber is readily available.



  • Grain is usually straight with a coarse, uneven texture.
  • Obvious colour difference between earlywood and latewood gives a very distinctive figure (pattern) when back sawn.


  • Engineering: frames constructed from poles impregnated with preservatives, power poles, piles.
  • Construction: framing, flooring, lining, joinery, moulding, laminated beams. Preservative impregnated for external cladding, decking, fascia and bargeboards, fencing, pergolas, playground equipment, landscaping and retaining walls.
  • Decorative: furniture, plywood, turnery, joinery.
  • Others: scaffold planks, wood wool, paper products.


  • Density: 545–575kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.0m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: (S6) unseasoned, (SD6) seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F4, F5, F7, F8 (unseasoned); F5, F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned) when visually stress-graded in accordance with AS 2858—2008: Timber—Softwood—Visually graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: J4 unseasoned; JD4 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: about 2.0% (tangential), 4.0% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: not available.
  • Durability above-ground: P. caribaea var. caribaea—Class 4; Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis, P. caribaea var. hondurensis—Class 4 (life expectancy less than 7 years).
  • Durability below-ground: Class 4 (life expectancy less than 5 years).
  • Lyctine susceptibility: sapwood is not susceptible to lyctine borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: resistant.
  • Preservation: immature plantation-grown stems are almost entirely sapwood, which typically is more than half of the stem radius even in mature plantations. Sapwood readily impregnates with commercial preservative, unlike the heartwood which can’t be adequately treated using available commercial processes.
  • Seasoning: to avoid distortion, framing sizes should be high-temperature dried; boards may be air-dried or kiln-dried at conventional or high temperatures; take precautions against bluestain.
  • Hardness: soft to firm (rated 5 to 4 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: use sharp planer blades when dressing to avoid compressing the softer earlywood and causing ridged surfaces; resin can cause difficulty during sawing.
  • Fixing: nails may occasionally follow the growth rings due to deflection by latewood bands; nailing guns give good results.
  • Gluing: glues satisfactorily; absorption can differ between earlywood and latewood but this rarely causes problems.
  • Finishing: readily accepts paint, stain and polish, although avoid timber with high resin content.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: pale yellow.
  • Heartwood: yellow to reddish brown and resinous.
  • Texture: non-uniform, consists of alternating bands of earlywood and latewood; straight grain; knots usually present in constructional timber grades.

Wood structure

  • Growth rings: clearly visible; latewood forms a dense dark band; occasional false rings; abrupt transition from early wood to latewood.
  • Vessels: absent.
  • Resin canals: numerous; prominent as lines on dressed longitudinal surfaces.
  • Parenchyma: absent.
  • Rays: fine, visible under a lens.

Other features

  • Odour: wood generally has a resinous odour.

Research and resources

  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: Properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2008, AS 2858–2008: Timber—Softwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.