A resinous tropical hardwood of a similar variety to rosewood and tulipwood, all of the genus Dalbergia. It is found in the dry deciduous forest throughout the Indian peninsula, and the species is also planted as a shade tree in coffee plantations and on roadsides. It is reported to be an introduced species in Nigeria.
Many different shades and colours of the wood can be found, from almost black to a light red-brown shade. The sapwood is sharply defined and is very light in colour. Palisander is a very hard and heavy wood, and so is difficult to carve. However, it seasons well, and responds very well to peeling after a soaking treatment, making it extremely suitable for use in veneers. Uses include those as diverse as chess pieces and the bodies of guitars, and also wind instruments such as the recorder. In this last case, the wood is chosen more for quality of tone than appearance, though both are very good. In a typical palisander or rosewood recorder, the characteristic tone is more edgy, and the overtones more reminiscent of those of the oboe, than an instrument constructed of another popular wood such as boxwood.