ebony


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ebony,

common name for members of the Ebenaceae, a family of trees and shrubs widely distributed in warmer climates and in the tropics. The principal genus, Diospyros, includes both ebony and persimmon trees. Ebony wood, valued from ancient times, is hard and dark; it is extensively used for piano keys and in cabinetmaking, especially the black Macassar ebony of India and the East Indies. Several species (notably D. hirsuta) that have wood striped with black or with shades of brown are called calamander wood or variegated ebony. Several other unrelated hardwoods are commonly called ebony. Of the many species in the family bearing edible fruit, the best known are the persimmons. D. virginiana is native in the United States E of the Mississippi. The Japanese persimmon (D. kaki) is cultivated in Japan and China, in the Mediterranean area, and in the warmer regions of the United States. The unripe fruit contains tannic acid, a powerful astringent. Soft and pulpy when ripe, persimmons are difficult to market. Large quantities are eaten on the tree by opossums, whence the name possumwood for the tree. Persimmon wood has a limited use in the manufacture of objects (e.g., golf club heads) requiring hard wood. The ebony family is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, order Ebenales, class Magnoliopsida.

ebony

Wood of a number of tropical species, usually distinguished by its dark color, durability, and hardness; used for carving and ornamental cabinetwork. See also: Douglas fir

Ebony

 

the dark wood of several species of tropical trees of the family Ebenaceae and several other families (Mimosaceae, Papi-lionaceae). Its color ranges from green to black. The best grades of ebony come from the tropical Diospyros crassiflora, D. ebenum, D. haplostylis, D. melanoxyion, and D. reticulata. The black heartwood is uniform in structure, heavy (with a density greater than 1), and hard. The annual rings and medullary rays are unnoticeable. Green ebony is obtained chiefly from the Central American Tecoma leucoxylon of the family Bignoniaceae.

Ebony is used as an ornamental facing for expensive furniture. It is also used in inlaid work and for the manufacture of musical instruments and various other wooden articles. The wood of D. lotus, from Transcaucasia and Middle Asia, is used in the USSR as an ebony substitute. It is used for various lathed objects, in joinery, and in the manufacture of shuttles for looms.

ebony

[′eb·ə·nē]
(botany)
Any of several African and Asian trees of the genus Diospyros, providing a hard, durable wood.

ebony

Wood of a number of tropical species usually distinguished by its dark color, durability, and hardness; used for carving, ornamental cabinetwork, etc.

ebony

1. any of various tropical and subtropical trees of the genus Diospyros, esp D. ebenum of S India, that have hard dark wood: family Ebenaceae
2. the wood of such a tree, much used for cabinetwork
3. 
a. a black colour, sometimes with a dark olive tinge
b. (as adjective: ebony skin
References in classic literature ?
High pieces of furniture, of black violet ebony inlaid with brass, supported upon their wide shelves a great number of books uniformly bound.
And having put three or four double pistoles into his pocket to answer the needs of the moment, he placed the others in the ebony box, inlaid with mother of pearl, in which was the famous handkerchief which served him as a talisman.
The mallet is made of a hard heavy wood resembling ebony, is about twelve inches in length, and perhaps two in breadth, with a rounded handle at one end, and in shape is the exact counterpart of one of our four-sided razor-strops.
His skin became mottled with large brown spots, that fearfully sullied the lustre of his native ebony, while his enormous lips gradually compressed around two rows of ivory that had hitherto been shining in his visage like pearls set in jet.
In her right hand she bore a pearl and ebony fan, which she flourished with a fantastic and bewitching coquetry, that was likewise expressed in all her movements as well as in the style of her beauty and the attire that so well harmonized with it.
To the same time belonged the ebony and bronze doors, the silver statuette at the foot of the stairs, the forged iron balustrade reproducing right up the marble staircase Rita's decorative monogram in its complicated design.
She floated again from out the light and into the gloom (which deepened momently) and again her shadow fell from her into the ebony water, and became absorbed into its blackness.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore -- Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore
Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore-- Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore
Then she gazed thoughtfully upon the red drops that sprinkled the white snow, and said, 'Would that my little daughter may be as white as that snow, as red as that blood, and as black as this ebony windowframe
Archer turned from the fascinated contemplation of a small painting representing two Cardinals carousing, in an octagonal ebony frame set with medallions of onyx.
Henry's words, his description of the ebony cabinet which was to escape her observation at first, immediately rushed across her; and though there could be nothing really in it, there was something whimsical, it was certainly a very remarkable coincidence