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Pau Brasil LT0277.jpg
National tree of Brazil, Caesalpinia echinata, commonly known in Brazil as pau brasil, gave its name to the country - the species is famous for the dye extract taken from the heartwood, although synthetic dyes have now reduced this trade - the bark and dye extract are used locally for medicinal purposes, and research is being undertaken to determine if the bark can be used to treat cancer. Years of harvesting and reduction of the Atlantic Coastal Forest have reduced this species to the verge of extinction. Exploitation still continues, however, because its extremely dense hardwood is ideal for making bows for stringed musical instruments. It is also know as brasileto, ibirapitanga, orabutá, pau pernambuco, and pau rosado. In the coastal forest ecosystems of Brazil it has been noted as an important habitat for orchids and other epiphytes.