Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Mahogany (Swietenia Mahagoni), a large tree belonging to the order Meliaoeae, native to Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies, and yielding one of the most generally used of cabinet woods. The leaves resemble those of the ash: the flowers are clustered and small, with their parts in whorls of five, and ten united stamens; and the fruit is a pear-shaped woody capsule with winged seeds. The bark has febrifuge properties and the wood is a rich reddish-brown, often richly mottled, uniform in grain, susceptible of the highest polish, and very durable if not exposed to marine boring molluscs. In Mexico the timber is sometimes in 30 feet lengths and 48 inches square. Mahogany is commonly divided into Spanish, the darker, heavier and more figured, from San Domingo and Cuba, and Honduras, lighter, softer, and plainer, from the mainland. Though noticed during Raleigh's expedition in 1595, it was only introduced in the last century. It is employed in carving, turning, veneering, and cabinet-making, and for solid furniture, and is classed as second-class in Lloyd's ship-building list. We import about 40,000 tons annually, about half from Mexico and the rest from Honduras, Jamaica, and the other islands.