Geographic Distribution:

The wood sold to me Bischofia is more properly known as Bischofia javanica, but it most commonly known as Bishopwood.

B. javanica is native to a wide range encompassing south and southeast Asia as well as parts of China and Taiwan.  B. javanica has been widely planted as an ornamental tree throughout the tropics and sub-tropics.  My B. javanica came from an ornamental specimen in Florida that had to be removed following a strong storm.

Because it was sold to me as such, I will use the name Bischofia from here forward.

General Characteristics:

There is no data available from my usual sources so I will report my own experience.

Bischofia Small Interior

Bischofia heartwood is a deep reddish brown in color.

The grain in my pieces of Bischofia is fairly wild displaying a nice degree of ribbon figure.

Working Characteristics:

As Bischofia is not commonly considered timber wood there is no data regarding workability from my usual sources.  In my experience, Bischofia was easy to work with on the lathe.  It cut fairly clean and didn’t require heavy sanding to achieve a nice smooth finish that displayed some chatoyance and ribbon or flame figure.  The color and figure are highlighted rather than obliterated by the final finish.

Pricing and Availability:

Bischofia is not frequently imported or available.  The best bet is to consult tree service vendors in the areas where Bischofia has been planted ornamentally and may be occasionally removed.

In this blog, I almost always recommend several vendors with whom I have done considerable business and in whom I have great confidence.  These vendors are: West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, NC Wood, WoodTurningz, Amazon Exotic Hardwoods, Griffin Exotic Wood, Exotic Woods USA, Got Wood?, and Wood Turning Blanks 4U.

There is no vendor that I know of who is offering Bischofia at this time.  I sourced mine from Wood Turning Blanks 4U some years ago and they no longer stock Bischofia.

Bischofia Large Interior

Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising wood dealers.  In your search for Bischofia this can be an invaluable resource provided you use multiple search terms to capture all the possible listings.  I can’t speak to the quality of any of the listed dealers, but Woodfinder does have the advantage of allowing searches to be performed based on location which might allow an interested buyer to visit a listed wood dealer in person to hand pick pieces at a comfortable price.

A significant problem with using Woodfinder is that many vendors are listed for woods that, upon further investigation, they do not offer.  I don’t know if perhaps once they did and they didn’t update their listings or if some vendors use a standardized list of woods that include most everything conceivable with the idea that once you land on their page you will find something you want to buy even if you didn’t know it beforehand.  It happens to me all the time!

Common Uses:

In its native areas, Bischofia is commonly used in the following ways:

  • The dark red, dense wood is used as a building material for items ranging from furniture to bridges; it is durable but is difficult to air-dry.
  • The fruits are used in making wine.
  • The seeds, which are edible, contain 30-54% oil, which is used as a lubricant.
  • The bark has a high tannin content and is used as a source of red dye to stain rattan baskets.
  • The roots are used medicinally.
  • The leaves are eaten in Southern Laos dipped into chili sauce.


Bischofia is NOT listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices nor is it listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List.