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Mayope

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According to botanical reference library files, mayope is the hardest known wood in the entire Confederation. It is a tropical hardwood and the trees exist on only one planet — Lalonde. The wood is black in colour, extremely dense and as hard as metal.

In the jungle continent of Amarisk, paddleboats (such as the Swithland) that ply the river Juliffe and its tributaries, have hulls made from mayope planks. Houses are also constructed of mayope wood, which becomes a lighter, greyish colour when it weathers.



(Spoiler Warning)

Spoiler
Spoiler
The text below mentions events occured after 2611 and/or contains information relevant to the plot of the trilogy. Proceed at your own risk!


The first person to realise the high commercial value of mayope wood was Joshua Calvert, who sold a thousand tonnes of it on the agrarian world of Norfolk. Norfolk is a low-tech world, with no shortage of trees, so this move might have appeared crazy. However, Joshua was able to see that a planet dependent on steam-age technology would benefit greatly from a durable, versatile material such as mayope wood, to manufacture such items as furniture, tool handles and windmill cogs. Mayope is said to be even harder than tythorn.

Normally a fission blade is needed to cut mayope, but it can be cut using the mechanical power-saws available on Norfolk, although with great difficulty. Mayope is a tropical wood and would not be able to grow on a temperate world like Norfolk without extensive gene modification; this would help to ensure the continuation and profitability of the trade in mayope.

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