Also known as Amaranth, the heart wood is brown when first cut but turns a bright purple upon exposure to light and air. Regrettably, the vibrance slowly fades over time to deep, brown purple. The grain of purple heart is is usually straight, but wavy grain is not uncommon. The wood is hard, dense and is known to be very durable. The sapwood of Purple heart is white to cream in colour.
Purple heart is widely distributed in tropical America, from Mexico to Southern Brazil and the Caribbean. It is a seme-deciduous tree that reaches heights of up to 45 m.
Within its native range, it is used for flooring and heavy construction, including bridges and piling. It is used more widely for turnery, pool cues, boat building, inlay, marquetry, and decorative veneers.