Plants: Swietenia macrophylla - Big Leaf Mahogany

Posted by 18.11. 2007 12:32:30 (36109 readers)

Swietenia macrophylla - Big Leaf Mahogany

Mahogany- Swietenia macrophylla- The national tree of Belize, mahogany has long been harvested for its valuable lumber. Known for its beautiful color, grain and durability it is often used for high end furniture. Mahogany can be found throughout southern Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and western Africa. Being both beautiful and valuable mahogany is the most important export timber of tropical America. Many tropical communities are concerned about the over harvesting of mahogany and have begun to regulate it through legislation and protected areas. It can grow to 130 feet and can take up to 100 years to mature. Both valuable and scarce, mahogany harvesting has encouraged debate between environmental groups, loggers and government agencies.

Swietenia macrophylla 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. The West Indies Mahogany Tree is increasingly found as a street and yard tree in the southern portions of the state of Florida.

Hardy in Zones: 10-11. In cooler regions the Mahogany tree can be grown as a patio plant, outside during the summer and indoors in the winter. It also makes an excellent bonsai specimum.

Soil Requirements: Well drained soil.
Water Requirements: Good drought tolerance.
Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade.

Publisher: Hirt's Gardens
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