There is a very beautiful wood of this name growing in the island of Ceylon, which, when wrought into furniture, surpasses in appearance all other woods. We are surprised that it is not regularly imported into this country. All there is has been brought back by private gentlemen for their own use.
The wood is very hard and heavy, and of singularly remarkable variety and admixture of colours.
It is very difficult to describe this - and impossible to convey by words alone to those who have not seen it the manner in which the shades run into one another.
The most prevailing of these is a fine chocolate colour, now deepening into absolute black, now fading into a colour between fawn and cream colours.
In some places the latter tint is placed in more striking (though never quite in sudden) contrast with the richest shades of the brown.
The variations are sometimes displayed in clustering mottles; sometimes in the most graceful streaks.
There is nothing in the least gaudy or fantastic in the general result. It arrests the eye, but from the rich beauty of the intermingled colours, not from any undue showiness.
summarised from "The Library of Entertaining Knowledge - Timber trees" (1829), pub. Charles Knight, Pall Mall.