Plant Guide > Trees > Mahogany and Gumbo Limbo > Mahogany Tree

Mahogany Tree

Mahogany TreeThe Mahogany (Swietenia Mahogani, Jacq.) is the true mahogany whose heavy, brownish-red wood is so highly valued by the makers of elegant furniture.

In Central America and in the West Indies it grows to great size, and is remarkable in having huge buttresses extending out from the base of its lofty trunk. In the Florida Keys it attains but medium size, and the greed of lumbermen usually sacrifices the half-grown trees. It is known as "Madeira," and is used in boat building.

Nurserymen in Florida and southern California offer small mahogany trees for ornamental planting. The potted specimens bloom when quite young. The tree has graceful, slender branches, delicate, shiny, ash-like leaves, and light sprays of tiny white flowers. The fruits are heavy, brown, 4-valved capsules as large as lemons and full of winged seeds.

The wood, beside being beautiful in colour and in pattern of grain, becomes richer in tone with age, and seems impervious to decay. The finest grades of this wood grow on upland limestone soil. The Florida trees do not furnish this first-grade lumber.