The ipe tree grows throughout Central and South America and, in particular, in Colombia, Venezuela and northern Brazil. It is a very large tree with a grey-reddish sapwood and a dark brown-olive heartwood which has light and dark areas; with exposure to the light and time, the wood tends to darken even more. Ipe is very hard, heavy, oily, durable and resistant to animal and plant parasites.
Working ipe is not always easy and requires special tools. Nailing is difficult and pilot drilling of holes is needed. When it has been planed and polished however, the surface is lovely and smooth, producing an excellent finish. It has many special uses, such as sports equipment, scientific instruments, ship building and furniture.