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Biology Of Mahogany, Uses Of Mahogany, Some Related Species

Mahogany (Swietenia mahogani) is a member of the family Meliaceae, which contains about 500 other species of trees and shrubs native to tropical forests in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Other common names for this species are the Spanish or West Indies mahogany. Various other species of trees have also been given the name mahogany, but the true mahogany is Swietenia mahogani. Mahogany is one of the most valuable of the tropical hardwoods because of its desirable qualities for the crafting of fine furniture.

Mahogany is native to humid tropical forests of the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America. Until rather recently, mahogany was especially abundant in forests in Honduras. However, the quantity of mahogany has been greatly reduced throughout its range by extensive logging. Although much reduced in abundance, mahogany is not yet considered an endangered species.

Mahogany is also indigenous to extreme southern Florida, where it occurs in some of the hardwood "islands" in the sawgrass wetlands of Everglades National Park, known locally as hammocks. However, mahogany reaches the northern limits of its range in southern Florida, and is rather sparse in that region. Because of its great value as lumber, mahogany has also been planted in suitable tropical climates beyond its native range.

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