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Useful Tropical Plants

Swietenia mahagoni

(L.) Jacq.

Meliaceae

+ Synonyms

Cedrela mahagoni L.

Cedrus mahogani Mill.

Swietenia acutifolia Stokes

Swietenia fabrilis Salisb.

Common Name: Mahogany

Swietenia mahagoni
Cultivated tree in India
Photograph by: J.M.Garg
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Swietenia mahagoni Swietenia mahagoni Swietenia mahagoni Swietenia mahagoni Swietenia mahagoni Swietenia mahagoni

General Information

Mahogany is an evergreen or briefly deciduous tree that can grow up to 30 metres tall with a large, spherical crown and many heavy branches that cast a dense shade[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. The bole is often short and much-branched, up to 100cm in diameter, usually with a short, buttressing base up to 1 metre in diameter[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The tree is deciduous in areas where it is subject to drought[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Mahogany, obtained from several species in the genus Swietenia, is regarded as the world’s finest timber for high-class furniture and cabinet work. This species was the first to be discovered by the Europeans and has been exported from Hispaniola since the 16th century[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It has been widely over-exploited in the wild and is now cultivated in plantations in other areas of the tropics[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It is grown as an ornamental tree in various parts of India[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The tree is classified as 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

426
Title
Flowering Plants of Jamaica
Publication
 
Author
Adams. C.D.
Publisher
University of the West Indies; Jamaica.
Year
1972
ISBN
 
Description
A terse treatment of the flowering plants of Jamaica, with a botanical description of each plant, notes on habitat etc.

Range

Southeastern N. America - Florida, to the Caribbean.

Habitat

Pastures, along the sides of roads, rare in natural woodland[
426
Title
Flowering Plants of Jamaica
Publication
 
Author
Adams. C.D.
Publisher
University of the West Indies; Jamaica.
Year
1972
ISBN
 
Description
A terse treatment of the flowering plants of Jamaica, with a botanical description of each plant, notes on habitat etc.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusEndangered
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height25.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Moths, Thrips
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moist to humid tropics, where it is found at elevations from 50 - 1,500 metres[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 24 - 32°c, but can tolerate 16 - 36°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 800 - 2,500mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. The best development of the trees has been observed in areas receiving the lower rainfall range of 1,000 - 1,500 mm, in localities not far from the sea, and at elevations near sea level[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Young plants grow best in dappled shade, requiring more light as they grow larger[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The plant thrives best on deep, rich soil and avoids stiff, heavy soils in the wild; well-drained sandy soils are best[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It is a complete failure in dry localities and poor soils[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5.5 - 8[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Young trees have straight and slender stems, and branches are formed 2 - 3 metres above the ground with a position oblique to the main stem. Initial growth is fast, depending on site conditions[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Flowering and fruiting are regular and annual, varying according to climate but taking place shortly before the rainy season. The tree fruits well and produces fertile seeds, sometimes as early as at 20 years of age, although usually it does not seed until it is 30-40 years old[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Seed production varies according to site and year[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
This species hybridizes with S. Macrophylla and S. Mahagoni. Hybridization has been confirmed by cytological studies[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The stem bark is considered to be antiseptic, astringent and febrifuge[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. It is taken orally as a decoction for diarrhoea and dysentery, as a source of vitamins and iron, and as a medicine to induce haemorrhage. When the bark is steeped to a red liquid, it is taken to clear the blood, increase appetite, and restore strength in cases of tuberculosis[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
A decoction of the bark is used externally to dress wounds caused by firearms[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Methanol extracts of the bark showed inhibitory activity on HIV-1 protease[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Ether extracts of seeds inhibited platelet aggregation, probably due to the presence of tetranortriterpenoids[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Farmers generally plant the species along garden boundaries or around the courtyard, where it provides deep shade[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The tree is used in reforestation projects, as a shade tree in young plantations of other timber species and as a shade tree in coffee and cacao plantations[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Other Uses

An oil can be extracted from the seed kernels which might be of some commercial value[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The bark is a source of tannins and has been used for dyeing[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The crushed fruit shells have been used as a potting medium[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The heartwood is reddish or pinkish, the colour darkening with age to a deep red or brown; it is distinctly demarcated from the up to 40mm wide band of usually yellowish sapwood. The grain is interlocked, sometimes straight; texture fine to moderately coarse; surfaces are glossy, and the wood is often nicely figured because of the irregular grain. The wood is medium-weight, comparatively soft, very durable, but not considered suitable for applications in contact with the ground. Graveyard tests in Indonesia showed an average service life in contact with the ground of 3.3 years. The wood is resistant to most, but not all, wood-rotting fungi, and is liable to termite attack. The wood seasons well, without much checking or distortion and kiln dries satisfactorily when moderate schedules are used. Rates of shrinkage are low and uniform, after drying it is stable in service. It saws, planes and moulds easily in both green and dry condition; in general it finishes to an exceptionally smooth, lustrous surface, but a woolly surface may occur on bands of reaction wood or interlocked grain; finishing is easy and the wood takes an excellent polish, gluing and nailing properties are good, but discoloration in contact with iron, copper and brass may occur under humid conditions. The wood slices and rotary cuts into fine and decorative veneer, without preliminary treatment, at a peeling angle of 92°. The wood is therefore the choice for high-quality furniture and cabinetwork, joinery, boats and pattern work. Wood carvers use a significant amount of the wood in turnery and sculpture[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The wood's outstanding technical qualities make it particularly suitable for precision woodwork such as models and patterns, instrument cases, clocks, printer’s blocks and parts of musical instruments; for these purposes, uniform straight-grained material is used. Other minor uses include burial caskets, novelties and expensive toys[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
In Haiti, much of the branch wood and most of the crooked stems are converted to charcoal, particularly in regions isolated from urban markets by poor roads[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a short viability and is best sown as soon as ripe[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Sow in a nursery seedbed with some overhead shade. The seed wing should be broken, since this facilitates germination[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Healthy seeds start germinating about 15 days after sowing[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. When the seedlings are 3 - 4 weeks old, remove the overhead shade, giving only lateral shade[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
In Java and Haiti, where abundant natural regeneration is found under trees and in the vicinity of almost all the older plantations, most farmers use wildlings for planting material[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Without any special treatment, seeds lose much of their viability in 3 months and almost entirely in 6 months[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Dried in the sun and sealed in airtight containers, they remain fairly viable for over 6 months[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Viability can be maintained in hermetic air-dry storage at room temperature for 1 year[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Cuttings from plants up to 3 years old are usua;;y successful, but do not work well from older plants[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

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