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Swietenia mahagoni (West-Indies Mahogany) is the tree originally designated as mahogany. There are other species of Swietenia as well as other timber trees which use the name. West Indies mahogany is a large tree, 75 feet or more in height, but typically 30 to 40 feet tall. Additionally , it has a round, open canopy, that tends to produce large fairly low branches; it requieres prunning to mantain shape. The bark of young trees is gray and smooth, becoming furrowed with age. Leaves are dark green, alternate, evenly pinnately compound, up to 10 inches long, with 3 or 4 pairs of leaflets, each 2 to 3 inches long. New leaves are reddish purple. The tree loses its old leaves at the end of the cool season as new growth is beginning. Flowers are small, not showy, green-yellow, borne in clusters.
Furthermore, the fruits are brown, oval, dry, woody, 5 lobed capsules 3 to 6 inches long, containing abundant winged seeds dispersed by wind. Seeds are for propagation. The high value of Swietenia mahagoni (West-Indies Mahogany) timber needs no elaboration. And in cultivation, mahogany will grow in a range of well-drained soils, but does best in good soil with fertilizer.
As an ornamental tree, mahogany is a good choice for gardens and parks, especially for light shade. It responds well to pruning. It is a common street tree in south Florida.
Other Names: Aitomahongit, Caobas