Bay Wood, Mahogany tree
tree of the family Meliaceae, close to the family Sapindaceae (Lichee, Longanier, Savonnier, Xanthoceras)
Etymology: its Latin name, Swietenia mahogani derives from the name "mahogany" given by the Arawak Indians, or at least the name the conquistadors understood. This American genus is a close parent of the African genus Khaya. To the left, east african mahogani. Its name "Bay Wood" reminds the Bay of Campeche, whence it was exported in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Origin: Tropical America.
Habitat: tropical countries.
Height: 30 m tall.
Trunk: soaring, with high branching.
Deciduous foliage: leaves composed of pointed leaflets.
Flowers yellowish white, grouped in cymes axillaries. The fruits of the Mahogany tree open at the base and let get away many winged seeds.
Pink grey wood when cut, becoming deep purple when exposed to the light then very dark brown-red by getting old.
Use: the Mahogany tree has a "precious" wood with fine-grain, hard and easy to work, resistant to white ants. It is appreciated in sculpture and used to manufacture pieces of furniture, often in simple plating, considering its value. In the past it was used for tinctures.