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Last Update 06/03/08

Florida Native Plant Section

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Swietenia mahagoni 

 Mahogany

Swietenia mahagoni is the rare and very expensive species of wood that has been used to construct fine furniture for hundreds of years. Mahogany traditionally came from Central and South America where it was first observed in 1595 by a carpenter accompanying Sir Walter Raleigh on his explorations of the "New World".

When properly finished and polished to a rich sheen, mahogany has a deep rich red color. It was first used extensively for furniture making in the reign of George I of England and became very sought after from that time onwards. The most common source was Jamaica, but it was also imported from Cuba and Honduras.

 

Swietenia mahagoni is a Florida native that ironically is becoming a rare find in the wild due to land development, but is increasingly found as a street and yard tree in the southern portions of the state.

Mahogany

 

Mahogany leaves, click to enlarge

Mahogany bark. Click to enlarge.

Mahogany seed pods and spring leaves. Click to enlarge.

Plant Facts:

Common Name:   Swietenia mahagoni

Botanical Name:   Mahogany

Plant Type:  Deciduous tree

Zones: 10-11

Height:  To 60'

Soil Requirements:  Well drained soil.

Water Requirements: Good drought tolerance.

Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade.

Leaves:  Compound, alternate on the stems, 4-8" in length. Leaflets are 4-8 in number, 1-4" long, dark green above and pale yellow to reddish brown beneath. Narrowly oval with sharp tips and uneven bases.

Flowers: Inconspicuous

Fruit: Fall or winter, large woody pods, from 2-5" long. At maturity they split from the base upward, releasing flat, winged seeds about 3/4" long.

Uses:  Shade tree.

Propagation:  Seeds

Source: Native Florida Plants, Revised Edition

 
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