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Swietenia mahagoni


Swietenia mahagoni (L.) Jacq.

Family Name: Meliaceae
Common Name: West Indian Mahogany


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree
Maximum Height 25 m


Native Distribution Tropical America
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree, up to 25 m tall, with buttresses. Bark is smooth grey when young, and becoming reddish-brown and scaly as the tree mature.
Foliage Leaves are pinnate, up to 35 cm long and comprise of 8 – 12 pairs of leaflets. Leaflet is leathery, ovate to lanceolate (10 – 16 cm long and 4 – 6 cm wide) with entire or serrated leaf margin. It is light green on the upper surface while dark green on the lower surface. Leaflet has unequal oblique base, acuminate apex and a short petiole (0.3 – 0.6 cm long).
Flowers Inflorescence occurs at the axillary position and comprises of small flowers. Flowers are greenish yellow with 5 petals, 5 sepals, cylindrical staminal tube, and 10 stamens. Usually only one flower develops into fruit even when pollination occurs on all flowers.
Fruit Fruit is woody, brown and oval shaped (6 – 10 cm long). Mature fruit splits open into 5 parts and releases numerous brown winged seeds (4 – 7 cm long).
Associated Fauna It is pollinated by insects.
Cultivation Hybridization with Swietenia macrophylla is common if they are grown in proximity.
Etymology Genus Swietenia commemorates Gerard von Swieten (1700-1772), botanist and physician to Maria Theresa of Austria.
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: Wood is highly valuable and resistant to decay or insect attack. It is dark reddish brown and used to make furniture, musical instruments and veneer.
Cultural / Religious: Heritage Tree: There is currently one individual of Swietenia mahagoni listed as Heritage Tree in Singapore. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Shade Providing Tree / Palm

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water, Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Image Repository



Master ID 1858
Species ID 3151
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 18 February 2022.