The Most Common Wood In China – Beijing Timber Buying Guide

Popular woods in china

Perhaps, knowing about the specificities of popular woods in china, as one of the greatest economies in the world, is very interesting for many manufacturers in wood industry.

China is one of the biggest countries with a lot of wood resources from vast forest full of tree species.

Most common types of woods in china are from oak and red pine species. You also can find many larch and fir trees in this country.

 but, tree species that are well-known and popular in china are not restricted to the above-mentioned species.

For example, Santal is a unique source for wood production. This tree produces one of the most expensive types of woods in china.

If you are interested to learn more about the types of woods that are popular in east Asia, and specially in china, we’re going to dive a bit more in the subject, and talk about the specificities of popular woods in this country.

read more: White Oak wood

What is Chinese wood called?

Chinese wood is typically referred to as Chinese hardwood, which includes a variety of species such as rosewood, elm, and bamboo.

Forest resources in China

China has the world’s largest forest resources, with over 208 million hectares of forest land. China has a wide variety of forest types, including temperate, subtropical, and tropical forests. China’s forests are home to a rich variety of plant and animal species, including the giant panda, red panda, and golden snub-nosed monkey.

China’s forests provide numerous benefits to the country, including timber, fuelwood, and non-timber forest products. Forests also play an important role in protecting the environment by reducing soil erosion, improving air quality, and providing habitat for wildlife. In addition, forests help to regulate the climate, providing a buffer against extreme temperatures.

Santal wood

Also known as red puple, Santal wood is a valuable type of wood in china which is one of the densest wood species in the world.

Santal wood does not float in water and has unique characteristics that make it one of the most expensive types of woods in the world.

In ancient china, santal wood had been used to make different woodworking instruments for emperors and noble families.

For example, in Ming dynasty, santal wood were highly prized and used as a valuable wood to make furniture.

Also during Ching dynasty, this wood was used for making woodworking products.

Several woodworking pieces still exist from ancient china. They are mostly from Ming dynasty.

It worth mentioning that in china people refer to Santal wood as Zitan.

read more: red oak wood

What is the most common wood in China?

teak wood

Usually known as teak wood, this is a popular type of wood in different parts of Europe and Asia.

It worth mentioning that in china, people call teak wood as You mu.

Why teak wood is important?

As teak wood has a high durability, it is highly prized for making woodworking products.

It may last for centuries and the beams from this wood can stand for more than a thousand year (in palaces and temples). But, how?

If you put teak wood under cover, it will become almost indestructible. As termite may eat the sap wood, but doesn’t destroy the heart wood, the resistance of teak wood is good enough to survive their attack.

Teak wood can be used for applications like:

China has a great population and manufacturers in different parts of country may use teak wood for fulfilling their need for wood in the above mentioned woodworking projects.

Elm wood

As a tree that belongs to ulmaceae family, elm wood is called Yu mu in china.

Elm wood is used for making furniture in several parts of country. It has soft and solid woods.

read more: What Wood Is Common In Germany

Cypress wood

Known as Bai mu in china, cypress also has a very dense wood. It has a silky and smooth wood without any obvious grain.

The color of cypress wood is blonde and is used for manufacturing furniture in north and south of china.

It is important to note that Chinese cypress is denser and better than American cypress.

Rose wood

In china, rosewood is relatively an inexpensive type of wood. The interesting point is that rose wood is genetically similar and close to Zitan.

It is from Pterocarpus Indicus family and in china people refer to it as Hua li.

Even rose wood and santal are genetically close to each other, but their color is very different. because, Zitan has a much darker color than rose wood.

It is important to mention that rose wood is a popular type of in India as well.

In fact, from hundreds of years ago, rose wood has been imported into china from India. So, Chinese had the opportunity to use Indian rose wood in their woodworking projects.

Another important note is that some species of rose wood have an incense smell which is important for several applications.

Also, the grain of rose wood allows manufacturers to produce products for decorative purposes.

read more: The Most Common Wood In Sweden


Mahogany wood is a globally well-known type of wood. this tree can be considered as a heavy and dense type of rose wood. In china, people refer to mahogany as Hong mu.

From Ching dynasty, mahogany was a popular type of wood in china for making furniture. It still has a wide popularity in china as it is popular other parts of Asia and the world.

Ebony wood

In china, people call ebony as Wu mu. The color of ebony is black and is considered as heavy and popular type of wood for special woodworking projects. The tree grows in equatorial regions specially several regions in Southeast of Asia.

Chicken wing wood

Phoenix tail or chicken wing wood is an expensive type of wood in china that is called Ji chi mu in their native language.

This tree has a feather like grain. It also has an iridescent shadow of lights which looks like the feathers of chicken.

It worth mentioning that this wood has been used in different dynasties and you can find examples of furniture from ancient china that are made by chicken wing wood.

read more: timber

Iron wood

This wood is similar to Ji chi mu. They both have similar grain and colors. But, iron wood is not as heavy and dense as Ji chi mu.

But, they are also expensive type of wood in china that have been used for making furniture in the past from ming dynasty.

White cedar wood

Cedar wood is a popular type of wood in different parts of the world. In china the use of white cedar wood is prized for several reasons.

The tree belongs to lauraceae family and has a light colored wood. It is fragrant and will not expand with humidity. It is also resistant toward heat.

In china, it is possible to use white cedar wood for several important woodworking projects like making:

  • Cabinets
  • Furniture
  • Coffins
  • Chests
  • Boats
  • Frames
  • Pillars

As you can see from the list above, cedar wood is very popular in China. the resistance of white cedar wood and its popularity have made it a widely used type of wood in china.

It worth mentioning that as a large tree, cedar is mainly found in provinces that are located in south and central parts of china.

Walnut wood

Walnut wood is a well-known and popular type of nut that is used in human diet. But, its wood is also a very popular type of wood in china as well as other parts of globe.

In china, people refer to walnut wood as Heta mu. It is considered as an excellent and high-quality type of wood that is suitable for making furniture.

Specially, manufacturers in north china use walnut wood to produce furniture with Ming and Ching style.

Poplar wood

Known as Yang mu in china, poplar wood is from a tree which belongs to salicaceae family.

As a large tree, it grows in humid and temperate parts of china. It has a narrow and long trunk and is suitable for carpentry.

Willow wood

Liu mu is from the salicaceae family and is a large plant that grows in humid regions. It looks like other species. But, you can distinguish them by looking at their leaves or by comparing their characteristics.

Camphor wood

This wood is known as Zhang mu in china. It can repel bugs and is used in making furniture in different parts of china.

Autumn wood

Catalan or autumn wood is hard and solid. It is called Qiu mu in china and is a large tree with broad leaves.

To make furniture, manufacturers can replace it with mahogany to decrease the final price of their products. It is also used for making coffins.

American oak

Zou mu in china which is in fact similar to American oak is another type of wood you can find in china. It can be used to make furniture.

Box wood

Huangyang mu is a wood from buxaceae family. It has an ivory look and is considered as a hard wood. the important note is that box wood is a popular wood to make carved objects or inlays.

Burl wood

It is a type of wood cut from roots of specific varieties of plants. It is a costly type of wood in china.

Some of them are more valuable than other and are considered as a treasured wood in china.

Due to it limited resource and cost of harvesting and production, it is only used in specific parts of furniture.

Pine wood

As a popular types of wood in many parts of globe, pine wood in a less expensive type of wood in china.

In china, local people call it as Song mu and may use it for manufacturing cabinets.

Chinese cedar wood

Cedar wood is from a tree that belongs to the family pinaceae. this tree has several varieties. Chinese cedar wood is one of them that is more popular in china.

Sophora wood

As a large and ornamental tree, sophora tree belongs to a family of legumes.

It is a fragrant plant and is used to make dyes and cosmetics.

Lime wood

Lime tree wood, which is called Duan mu in china, is a popular wood with a whitish color. It is being used in the interior parts of products and for manufacturing of furniture.

What is the expensive Chinese wood?

The most expensive Chinese wood is huanghuali, which is a type of rosewood that is highly valued for its rich color and grain.

Final thought

In, this article, we’ve introduced popular types of woods and trees that are used for making furniture, doors, windows, pillars, flooring, tables, and etc.

China can either harvest the above-mentioned woods from its forests and natural resources or import them from other countries like India.

We hope that now you have a better insight about popular woods in China that long have been used in this country.

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