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Black Ebony ǀ Diospyros mollis Griff (Diospyros malabarica)

The Ebony tree is a hardwood tree in the Dyospyros family which also includes the Persimmon and the Black Ebony. The Ebony is native to India, Sri Lanka, Western Africa, and Indonesia but some species of persimmon also grow in colder regions, like China, Korea, and Japan. Not all trees of the genus are endangered, but the Black Ebony is.


Black Ebony has a long history of use, and carved pieces have been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs. In the 16th and 17th century, most cabinets in France were made from the ebony wood, hence the French term ébéniste (in English cabinet maker).


Black Ebony is one of the very few woods that sink in water, due to an extremely high density. The ebony wood dark brown to blackish and has a mirror image, when polished. The darker the wood, the more expensive it is. The piano's 36 black keys were typically crafted of Ebony wood, while the white keys were Ebony with a layer of white paint. Clarinets and other musical instruments were also made from Black Ebony.


Since the Black Ebony has been put on the ICUN list of endangered species, it is uses were restricted to just small pieces. Crucifixes and musical instruments, like the finger boards and tuning pegs of the violin as well as board pieces of the most expensive chess boards are still made from Ebony.


According to, a single fully grown black Ebony tree is worth approximately one million dollars. However, mature trees are extremely rare to find. Nearly all have been cut in the 16th and 17th century. The Ebony grows slowly, and a tree takes 70 to 200 years to grow just 9 meters tall.


Your donation encourages our charity to plant 10 trees on land that belongs to the charity, to ensure that at least one Black Ebony will survive for 30+ years.

Black Ebony ǀ Diospyros mollis Griff (Diospyros malabarica)

  • Diospyros mollis Griff is native to India, Sri Lanka, Western Africa, Indonesia.

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