Color In Nature: Wood

Sorting through the incredible number of wood varieties is a task of enormous proportions, and one we didn’t even think of taking on. Lucky for us there are people who are doing just that.

Exotic Wood Pictures: Exotic Wood Displayed, described, and Identified is “a non-commercial site focusing on color-correct pictures of exotic and domestic woods.” The site, which I found while performing the always necessary first step in any research, a Google search, is wonderful for exploring the amazing colors of the different varieties of wood. The highlighted statistics for the site read:

# different types of wood represented: 685
# unique pictures of those woods: 17,722

For any hard core wood fan out there this a great site to sort through hundreds of options for any upcoming wood related projects you might have on the table, or in the COLOURlovers case, this site can offer inspiration from the unique colors that make up each type.

Below we have assembled a few inspirational palettes with their corresponding types from some of the 685 wood varieties represented on the site. Plus, a few images of the incredible colors of petrified wood.

Wood Color Inspiration

  • Angico
  • Guearu
  • Bosse
  • Cinnamon
  • Caretto

  • Oak, Bog
  • Bishop Wood
  • Briar
  • Podo
  • Zircote

  • Cocuswood
  • Blackbean
  • Beech
  • Makai
  • Buckthorn

  • Cancharana
  • Chakte kok
  • Irodo
  • Zapote
  • Lychee

  • Zitan
  • Huanghuali
  • Faieira
  • Palm, Red
  • Snakewood

  • Camphor
  • Lacewood
  • Ash, Oil
  • Caragana
  • Maple, Spalted

  • Angico
  • Chemchem
  • Cebil
  • Koa
  • Eisbirke

  • Melia
  • Redheart
  • Poui
  • Zorra
  • Bois de Rose

Petrified wood

Petrified wood is a type of fossil: it consists of fossil wood where all the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (most often a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the wood. The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried under sediment and is initially preserved due to a lack of oxygen. Mineral-rich water flowing through the sediment deposits minerals in the plant’s cells and as the plant’s lignin and cellulose decay away, a stone mould forms in its place.

Photo by absentmindedprof
Petrified Wood 1

Elements such as manganese, iron and copper in the water/mud during the petrification process give petrified wood a variety of color ranges. Pure quartz crystals are colorless, but when contaminants are added to the process the crystals take on a yellow, red or other tint.

Photo by kubina
petrified wood 2

Following is a list of contaminating elements and related color hues:

* carbon – black
* cobalt – green/blue
* chromium – green/blue
* copper – green/blue
* iron oxides – red, brown, and yellow
* manganese – pink/orange
* manganese oxides – black

Photo by gembone
petrified wood 3

Petrified wood can preserve the original structure of the wood in all its detail, down to the microscopic level. Structures such as tree rings and the various tissues are often observed features.

Photo by jamesdale10
petrified wood 4

Photo by charlestilford
petrified wood 5

You can help support Exotic Wood Pictures: Exotic Wood Displayed, described and Identified by going to the site and donating through PayPal.

Author: evad
David Sommers has been loving color as COLOURlovers' Blog Editor-in-Chief for the past two years. When he's not neck deep in a rainbow he's loving other things with The Post Family (, a Chicago-based art blog, artist collective & gallery.