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Mahogany tree appearance wood uses and lumber

Mahogany trees are native to Central America. The tree has been prized for its lumber from the 16th century. The scientific name of the mahogany tree is swietenia mahagoni and is part of the meliaceae family. Mahogany trees are slow growing and intensive logging had a major impact on wild species. Wild trees are almost gone but lucky people now successfully grow mahogany on plantations to prevent them from extinction.

mahogany trees

Mahogany tree, leaf and fruit description

mahogany tree leaves blossom bark and seedsMahogany trees can grow to heights up to 65 feet or 20 meters. The tree is classed deciduous and won't have leaves all year.

Mahogany leaves are alternate or pinnate arranged without a final leaflet at the tip. The leaves are egg or elliptic shaped and dark green colored. The tree leaves are relative small and reach lengths up to 2.5 inches or 7 cm.

Mahogany trees have woody oblong capsule shaped fruits. When the capsule breaks open winged seeds are exposed. The fruits of some sub species are eatable for humans and animals.


Mahogany tree bark and trunk

Young mahogany trees have smooth grey reddish brown bark. When the tree gets older the bark gets darker, slightly fissured and scaly. Mahogany trees have short trunks with many smaller branches attached. The diameter of the trunk depends on the age of the tree. Old trees can have trunks with a diameter up to 5 feet or 1.5 meters.

Mahogany wood properties and durability

Fresh mahogany heartwood is pale pink to dark reddish brown colored. The sapwood is lighter more yellow brown colored. Exposure to sunlight gives both wood types a darker color. Mahogany wood is known for its nice colorations, fine to coarse texture, moderate hardness, weight and strength and very good stability and decay resistance. The average dried weight of the wood at a moisture content of 12% is 650 kg per cubic meter. The durability of mahogany wood is classed as I or II high durability.


Mahogany wood working tips and uses

Mahogany wood is very popular among carpenters and the wood work industry. It is top quality lumber for furniture and surprisingly easy to work with. Mahogany wood nails, screws, glues, and works well both by hand or machine.

mahogany tree wood usesPre drilling is always advised when screws or nails are used. Polishing the lumber intensifies the wood colors and gives it a shiny appearance.

Mahogany wood is used in a wide range of products like

  • furniture
  • high class cabinetry
  • model making
  • toys
  • veneer
  • flooring and decking
  • music instruments
  • and more!

More mahogany tree pictures!