CITESwoodID: descriptions, illustrations, identification and information retrieval


H. G. Richter, K. Gembruch, G. Koch

Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, True Mahogany) - CITES II

Nomenclature. Family: MELIACEAE. Other trade relevant species: Species: S. macrophylla, S. mahagoni, S. humilis. Further trade and local names: Amerikanisches Mahagoni, Honduras-, Tabasco-, Nicaragua-Mahagoni (DE); caoba (cAm), aguano (PA, PE); mogno (BR); orura (VE); zopilote (MX); sapoton (SR); yulu (NI), crura (BO); acajou d'Amérique (FR), American mahogani, baywood (GB), broadleaf mahagony (US). Code according to DIN EN 13556: SWMC, only Swietenia macrophylla. Internal code: MAH.

CITES(EU) status of protection. Listed in Annex II(B). Similar woods: Andiroba (Carapa guianensis); Cedro (Cedrela spp.); Tiama (Entandrophragma angolense); Sapeli (Entandrophragma cylindricum); Sipo/Utile (Entandrophragma utile); Bossé (Guarea spp.); Khaya (Khaya spp.); Louro vermelho/wane (Ocotea rubra).

Geographic distribution. Mexico and Central America, Caribbean, tropical South America.

Growth rings, colour, grain, etc. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically light to dark reddish brown, red (cafesuzo claro a oscuro); without streaks. Sapwood distinct from heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Wood of medium weight (0,4–0,5–0,65 g/cm3). Interlocked grain present, or absent.

Hardwood vs softwood. Vessels (pores) present (= hardwood).

Vessels (pores). Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels (pores) arranged in no specific pattern; in multiples; commonly in short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Vessels medium to large (90–160–255 µm); very few to few (2–18). Tyloses absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels (pores) present (dark reddish brown, occasionally white), or absent (in case sapwood is mistaken for heartwood).

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present; banded. Parenchyma bands exclusively marginal (or seemingly marginal); narrow. Other macroscopically visible types of axial parenchyma: none.

Rays. Rays narrow; of uniform size. Large rays commonly less than 1 mm high.

Storied structure. Storied structure present, or absent. Tiers regular (horizontal or slightly inclined), or irregular; 2 per axial millimetre. In addition to wood rays axial parenchyma as well as vessels can be storied.

Resin canals. Normal resin canals absent (traumatic resin canals in tangential rows are occasionally present).

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract not fluorescent; colourless to brown. Heartwood extractives leaching out when in contact with water. Ethanol extract fluorescent (yellowish); colourless to brown, or red. Froth test positive. Splinter burns to partial ash; colour of ash white to grey.

Additional information. USA (1992). CITES proposal. Include in Appendix II neotropical populations of Swietenia taxa (S. macrophylla, S. mahagoni and S. humilis, and their natural hybrids). Guatemala and Nicaragua (2002). See also: Informationsdienst Holz Merkblatt Nr. 18. • mah.jpg. Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, True Mahogany). Transverse section ca. 10x. Radial surface, natural size. • mah-and.jpg. Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, True Mahogany). Carapa guianensis (Andiroba). Swietenia spp. and Carapa guianensis have nearly the same colour, weight and structure (transverse section). Macroscopically, the main difference is in the colour of the marginal parenchyma bands which sharply contrast the ground tissue in Swietenia spp. yet fades into the ground tissue in Carapa guianensis. • mah-ced.jpg. Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, True Mahogany). Cedrela odorata (Cedro). Cedrela and Swietenia timbers are of similar colour and weight and are often mistaken for each other. However, the semi-ringporous Cedrela has large vessels (marked) and is aromatic, the diffuse-porous Swietenia has medium sized pores (marked) and is odourless. • mah-tia.jpg. Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, True Mahogany). Entandrophragma angolense (Tiama). Swietenia spp. and Entandrophragma angolense cannot be safely distinguished owing to their nearly identical macroscopic structure. The fact that the marginal parenchyma bands contrast the ground tissue much stronger and the occasional presence of storied rays in Swietenia spp. are of some help in distinguishing the two timbers macroscopically. • mah-sap.jpg. Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, True Mahogany). Entandrophragma cylindricum (Sapeli). Entandrophragma cylindricum differs from the otherwise very similar Swietenia spp. by the presence of partially banded axial parenchyma between marginal bands (marked). Moreover, Entandrophragma cylindricum has a cinnamon-like fragrance whereas Swietenia species are odourless. • mah-sip.jpg. Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, True Mahogany). Entandrophragma utile (Sipo, Utile). Entandrophragma utile differs from the otherwise very similar Swietenia spp. by the presence of mostly banded axial parenchyma between marginal bands (marked). Moreover, Entandrophragma utile has fewer and much larger vessels. • mah-bos.jpg. Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, True Mahogany). Guarea spp. (Bossť). Guarea spp. can be distinguished easily from the otherwise similar Swietenia timbers on account of the ubiquituous wavy parenchyma bands. Moreover, some Guarea species, for instance the african Guarea cedrata, have a characteristic aromatic odour. • mah-kha.jpg. Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, True Mahogany). Khaya spp. (Khaya, African Mahogany). Khaya spp. are very similar to Swietenia spp. in external appearance. The two timber groups differ significantly by the lack of macroscopically visible axial parenchyma in Khaya spp. • mah-wan.jpg. Swietenia spp. (Echtes Mahagoni, true mahogany). Ocotea rubra (Louro vermelho, Wane). Swietenia spp. und Ocotea rubra are similar external appearance (colour, weight) but easily separated by means of macroscopic features (transverse section). The vessels of Ocotea rubra are larger, filled with tyloses and often arranged in diagonal rows (marked). Moreover, no banded parenchyma is present.

The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., Gembruch, K., and Koch, G. 2014 onwards. CITESwoodID: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, and Spanish. Version: 16th May 2014.’.