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logwood

logwood, small, thorny tree ( Haematoxylon campechianum ) of the family Leguminosae ( pulse family) native to tropical America and introduced into other tropical regions. The brown-red heartwood is the source of the dye haematoxylin and was exported to Europe as a major purple textile dye from the 16th cent. until the development of synthetic aniline dyes. It is still used more than are most natural dyes—as a histological stain, for ink, and as a special-purpose dye. Local names for the wood include campeachy wood and blackwood. The name logwood is sometimes applied to other similar woods. Logwood is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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