What is the plant
Swietenia macrophylla, commonly known as mahogany, Honduran mahogany, Honduras mahogany, big-leaf mahogany, or West Indian mahogany, is a species of plant in the Meliaceae family. It is one of three species that yields genuine mahogany timber (Swietenia), the others being Swietenia mahagoni and Swietenia humilis. It is native to South America, Mexico and Central America, but naturalized in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Hawaii, and cultivated in plantations and wind-breaks elsewhere.
Big leaf mahogany is a slow-growing, very large, evergreen or briefly deciduous tree with an open, rounded crown. It usually reaches a height of 30 - 40 metres, but specimens up to 60 metres tall can be found in favourable conditions. The bole is straight and cylindrical with a buttressed base - it usually has a diameter of 100 - 120cm, but in exceptional conditions up to 280cm has been recorded.
A very well-known and valuable timber, mahogany is regarded as the world’s finest timber for high-class furniture and cabinet work. The tree has been heavily exploited within its native range, becoming virtually extinct in some areas, with populations everywhere in steep decline. It is now cultivated in plantations in many parts of the tropics. It is planted as an ornamental lawn tree in peninsular Malaysia.
The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010).
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