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Swietenia mahagoni (West indian mahogany)
Cressler, Alan

Swietenia mahagoni

Swietenia mahagoni (L.) Jacq.

West Indian Mahogany

Meliaceae (Mahogany Family)


USDA Symbol: SWMA2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N), VI (N)

Usually growing to a height of 50 ft., this mahogany has a well-shaped dense crown of compound leaves with 4-8 leaflets. It is "nearly evergreen" since old leaves are shed suddenly in spring and replaced quickly with new one. Greenish flowers are fairly inconspicuous and are followed by a large, brown pod. Crown large, dense, rounded; trunk buttressed.

This small tree is a native of Florida, the Caribbean, and South America. It has decreased in number over the last several centuries as it has been exploited for its rich hard wood and it has lost considerable habitat to development. Forced to grow in poor habitat conditions, it very often doesn't reach tree-size, growing as a shrub instead.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 100 feet tall, usually much shorter.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: The flowers are produced in loose inflorescences, each flower small, with five white to greenish-yellowish petals.


Native Distribution: S. FL
Native Habitat: Coastal hammocks

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: An attractive tree for roadside and home plantings. Requires almost no attention.


Description: Propagation is by seed and is quite easy.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany

Additional resources

USDA: Find Swietenia mahagoni in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Swietenia mahagoni in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Swietenia mahagoni


Record Modified: 2023-04-13
Research By: TWC Staff

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