Swietenia mahagoni - (L.) Jacq.
West Indian Mahogany
Other Common Names: West Indian mahogany
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Swietenia mahagoni (L.) Jacq. (TSN 29026)
Spanish Common Names: Caoba
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.150600
Element Code: PDMLC04030
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Other flowering plants
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Sapindales Meliaceae Swietenia
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Swietenia mahagoni
Taxonomic Comments: The commonly used spelling of the species name is 'mahagoni' (e.g., Kartesz (1994 and 1999) and Little (1978)), but spelled 'mahogani' by Pennington (1981). The common name is generally spelled 'mahogany'. LEM 17Oct01.
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 14Aug1995
Global Status Last Changed: 21Mar1995
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Limited native range in southern Florida. Swietenia mahagoni is naturally distributed from southern Florida throughout the Keys, the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Pennington 1981), Dominican Republic and Haiti (Longwood 1962). It has been introduced into Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Lesser Antilles, Trinidad, Tobago, and some other Caribbean Islands. The species is characteristic of hummock vegetation in southern Florida, and on the Caribbean islands it is a constituent of what now remains of the subtropical dry or moist forest, often on limestone (Pennington 1981). Thrives in rich moist soil but because of heavy exploitation it is now generally confined to dry, stony, arid areas. Trees are seldom found in abundance, but generally are scattered throughout the forest, one or two trees per acre or even less (Longwood 1962). Found at up to 800 m alt. Due to its reputation as perhaps the most attractive of all world timbers, indigenous stands of the best trees have been almost completely exhausted. In most areas this once famous tree now occurs as little more than a much-branched bush or small tree, a prime example of extreme genetic erosion due to past over exploitation of the best genotypes (Pennington 1981). The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has listed this species in its 'May Become Threatened' category. A government issued export permit is required to verify that the source of the timber is a sustainably managed forest, a plantation, or salvaged wood (CITES 1993 in Tree Talk 1994).
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Florida (S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Extreme southern Florida. Nursery material extensively planted in southern Florida. Correll - Bahamas, Florida, Central America and West Indies to Peru (Correll and Correll 1982). However Morton (1989) states it is native only to Jamiaca, Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, the Florida Keys and extreme southern mainland of Florida. This is also confirmed in a letter to Hils from a representative of the tropical timber industry (Baer, pers. comm. 1992).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Scarce in Lesser Antilles due to cutting (Howard 1988). Occasional to rare in Jamaica.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Due to its reputation as perhaps the most attractive of all world timbers, indigenous stands of the best trees have been almost completely exhausted. The wood is much desired for furniture, cabinetry, and general woodworking. In most areas this once famous tree now occurs as little more than a much-branched bush or small tree, a prime example of extreme genetic erosion due to past over exploitation of the best genotypes (Pennington 1981). The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has listed this species in its 'May Become Threatened' category (CITES 1993 in Tree Talk 1994). This species is widely planted, however, and there are no recent reports of wood poaching in Everglades National Park (but some trees have been taken in north Key Largo Botanical Preserve within the past 7 years).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Good tolerance to salt spray, drought and hurricanes. Somewhat affected by frost. In some areas, myriads of seedlings develop around isolated mature species (Howard 1988).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
Help
Global Range: Extreme southern Florida. Nursery material extensively planted in southern Florida. Correll - Bahamas, Florida, Central America and West Indies to Peru (Correll and Correll 1982). However Morton (1989) states it is native only to Jamiaca, Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, the Florida Keys and extreme southern mainland of Florida. This is also confirmed in a letter to Hils from a representative of the tropical timber industry (Baer, pers. comm. 1992).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL

Range Map
No map available.

National Distribution Outside of U.S. & Canada: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Virgin Islands, U.S.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Broward (12011)*, Miami-Dade (12086), Monroe (12087)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Everglades (03090202)+, Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+, Florida Southeast Coast (03090206)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Basic Description: A perennial tropical tree; deciduous.
Habitat Comments: The species is characteristic of hummock vegetation in southern Florida, and on the Caribbean islands it is a constituent of what now remains of the subtropical dry or moist forest, often on limestone (Pennington 1981). In Jamaica, it occurs in pastures and along roadsides as well as coastal hammocks. Thrives in rich moist soil but is now generally confined to dry, stony, arid areas (Longwood 1962).
Economic Attributes
Help
Economically Important Genus: Y
Economic Uses: FIBER, Building materials/timber
Economic Comments: The wood is principally used for lumber and veneer in the more expensive types of furniture and cabinetwork. In Europe, the major use of the lumber from the limited number of small logs available is in turned rails and rungs of chairs. It is also used for high-class joinery work, woodwork in yachts and pleasure ships, turnery, carvings, and for other comparable jobs. The wood is especially well adapted for pattern work because of its stability and ease of working. Its main local use is for turned products for the Caribbean tourist trade. Because of its resistance to termites (Stovall 1947 in Longwood), its natural beauty and ease of working, the wood is also used locally for window frames, doors, sills, interior woodwork, and inlay work (Longwood 1962). It was formerly employed in shipbuilding, construction, and for beams. Roots and stumps of large trees are especially prized for their irregular wavy grain. The astringent bitter bark has been used in medicine (Little and Wadsworth 1964). S. mahagoni is now much grown as a forest crop and as a street or shade tree throughout the tropics. Although it is the most famous and was the first of the true mahoganies to appear on the European timber market, indigenous stands of the best trees have been almost completely exhausted (Pennington 1981).
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Aug1995
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hilsenbeck, C. E., and A. F. Johnson; rev. J. Beckman (3/96); N. Stoner (1993)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Dec1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): JASTER, T. (TNC-LASP)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Adams, C. D. 1972. Flowering plants of Jamaica. University of the West Indies. Mona, Jamaica. 848 pp.

  • CORRELL, D.S. & H.B. CORRELL. 1982. FLORA OF THE BAHAMA ARCHIPELAGO (INCLUDING THE TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS). J. CRAMER, GERMANY. 1692 + 50 PAGES

  • Correll, D.S., and H.B. Correll. 1982. Flora of the Bahama Archipelago (including the Turks and Caicos Islands). J. Cramer, Vaduz. 1692 pp.

  • Howard, Richard A. 1988. Flora of the Lesser Antilles, Leeward and Windward Islands. Volume 4. Dicotyledoneae, Part 1. Ihsan Al-Shehbaz - Capparaceae & Cruciferae, William R. Anderson-Malpighiaceae. Timothy Plowman - Erythroxylaceae Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University. Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. 673pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • LONG, R.W. & O. LAKELA. 1971. A FLORA OF TROPICAL FLORIDA. BANYAN BOOKS; ORIGINAL PUBLISHED BY UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI PRESS, MIAMI, FL.

  • Letter from W. Baer of Internatl. Hardwd. Products Assoc. to USFW Service regarding CITES listing of Swietenia mahogoni.

  • Little, E., Jr. & Wadsworth, F. 1964. Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. 548 páges.

  • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.

  • Long, R.W. and O. Lakela. 1976. A flora of tropical Florida. Banyan Books. Miami, Florida, xvii + 962 pp.

  • Longwood, Franklin R. 1962. Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean. Agriculture Handbook No. 207. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

  • Pennington, T. D. 1981. Flora Neotropica: Monograph No. 28. Meliaceae. Organization for Flora Neotropica: New York Botanical Garden, New York. 470p.

  • TOMLINSON, P.B. 1980, 1986. THE BIOLOGY OF TREES NATIVE TO TROPICAL FLORIDA. HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRINTING OFFICE, ALLSTON, MA. 480 PP. + V.

  • Tomlinson, P. B. 1980. The biology of trees native to tropical Florida. Harvard University Printing Office, Allston, MA. 480 pp.

  • Woods of the World Compact (IBM Windows), [CD-ROM]. (1994). Available: Tree Talk.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.