Difference Between Sandalwood and Rosewood

Nature offers us a wide range of treasures to behold. Two of the wonders of nature include Sandalwood and Rosewood. Sandalwood and Rosewood are majestic and delicate trees because of their unique characteristics, healing properties, and aromatic significance. They are exported all over the world and are highly esteemed for what they offer. 

Sandalwood vs Rosewood 

The main difference between Sandalwood and Rosewood is that Sandalwood can survive in warm and hot climates. The sandalwood grows in a hot atmosphere and grows ideally better in humid atmospheres. Rosewood generally grows in Tropical evergreen forests surviving at the maximum temperatures of 37-50 degrees celsius and requiring humidity of 40-100 percent. 

Sandalwood and Rosewood

Sandalwood is an evergreen tree traded all around the world. It can grow up to 12m in height and 2.5m in width. It is mostly located in the islands of the South Pacific and southeastern Asia. Sandalwood trees have leathery leaves on the plants and are partially parasitic on the roots of opposite branches. 

Rosewood is an ornamental timber wood with broad and large heartwood dimensions. The tree gains planks and squared logs at maturity, this implies that that wood has started to decay. This is indicated by a hollow at the center which depicts a faulty rosewood. Rosewood is exported for its unique properties. 

Comparison Table Between Sandalwood and Rosewood 

Parameters of ComparisonSandalwood Rosewood 
Other names Santal oil, Saunders oil, SantalumDalbergia stevensoni, Bahia, Acacia excelsa 
Uses Vital for medicinal uses, antiseptic properties, and skin healing properties.Popular in furniture making, known for luxurious goods such as guitars.
Aroma The smell is earthy, woody, and also be considered rich and creamy.It has a sweet and strong smell.
Largest Producers/SuppliersAustralia has become the largest producer of sandalwood.China is one of the biggest exporters and suppliers of Rosewood.
Colors Sandalwood is available in colors such as Red, White, Yellow, and brown. The color range of rosewood includes orange, black bars, deep purple, yellow and red.

What is Sandalwood?

Sandalwood derives its name from the genus Santalum. Sandalwood is one of the most cherished heritages in the world. It is one of the most expensive trees present in the world and is known for its valuable products which include wood and its oil. Sandalwood derives its name from the Sanskrit term Chandanam meaning ‘Wood for burning license’.

The primary characteristics of the sandalwood include heavy trees, fine-grained, yellow-toned trees with the ability to sustain them for a long time. Sandalwood oil extracted from the tree is known for its aromatic and ayurvedic properties. 

Sandalwood has been in the market for over 1000 years. There are over 25 different species of sandalwood found across the parts of Oceania, Ecozones, Indomalaya, and Australia. The heritage of Sandalwood dates back to Asia due to its diverse therapeutic and aromatic values. The sandalwood market was primarily dominated by India with over 85% of the produce coming from Kerala and Karnataka.

Some of the popular types of sandalwood include Santalum Haleakala, Indian Sandalwood, Australian Sandalwood, and Santalum acuminatum. Some of the species of Sandalwood are highly prone to extinction due to the overuse of resources, exploitation of trees, and overconsumption of sandalwood products. 

What is Rosewood?

Rosewood is a rich timber wood that belongs to the genus Dalbergia. It is commonly and popularly referred to as Dalbergia Nigra. Rosewood is known for its shiny, smooth, and glossy texture with hints of coarse grains all across the tree.

It produces a crisp sound on the wood on knocking without any noises. It is easy to distinguish fake rosewood products from real products. The fake products may get the tint of the hues of rosewood, but it is impossible to produce the texture of the real wood.

The prominent types of Rosewood include Dalbergia, Dalbergia melanoxyl, Maritima, Cocobolo, and Bariensis. Rosewood is primarily grown in the places of Honduras, Jamaica, Africa, India, and Brazil. It has a resinous texture making it difficult to work with. It is a dense wood tree, known for its uses in the construction and development of decoration items.

It also has medicinal properties. The rosewood essential oil is a great component for antiseptic, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, and analgesic properties. It is a powerful remedy for a wide range of therapeutic needs such as relieving pain, tired skin, wrinkles, acne and provides a glow to the skin. The rosewood essential oil is also a great application to heal skin internally.

Main Differences Between Sandalwood and Rosewood 

  1. Sandalwood has an incredible aroma and it does not easily wear out. The smell and texture may change over time. Rosewood has a lasting smell and can last for many years efficiently. 
  2. The restrictions on the trade on sandalwood are reduced in recent years than the trade of rosewood in the world. Due to illegal trading and the over-exploitation of the rosewood trees, it has been heavily restricted.
  3. Sandalwood can live up to a hundred years of age. Rosewood can live up to the age of 60 years, it reaches maturity at the age of 19 to 21 years.
  4. Sandalwood is consumed globally, while rosewood is highly consumed and supplied in China with vast demand increase in the past 10 years.
  5. Sandalwood tree is grown in dry deciduous forests. The rosewood, on the other hand, is grown in Tropical evergreen forests.


Sandalwood and Rosewood are prestigious top-grade trees because of their high demand and supply in the market. They are produced in a lot of regions of the world to deal with the ever-growing demands. 

Due to the high demand across the globe, the trees are highly prone to over-use and over-exploitation of trees for products. The products include oils, furniture, and musical instruments. 

This exploitation has been taken into concern as Sandalwood and Rosewood are regarded in the category of Vulnerable in a lot of countries while the export and supply are restricted for some of the products. The recent laws and guidelines have made strict changes in the trade of sandalwood and rosewood. 


  1. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19990603455
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1018364720300082
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