Swietenia macrophylla

Swietenia macrophylla, commonly known as mahogany,[2] Honduran mahogany,[2] Honduras mahogany,[3] big-leaf mahogany,[4] or West Indian mahogany,[5] is a species of plant in the Meliaceae family. It is one of three species that yields genuine mahogany timber (Swientenia), the others being Swietenia mahagoni and Swietenia humilis. It is native to South America and Mexico, but naturalized in the Philippines, Singapore and Hawaii,[2][6] and cultivated in plantations and wind-breaks elsewhere.[5]

Swietenia macrophylla
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Meliaceae
Genus: Swietenia
S. macrophylla
Binomial name
Swietenia macrophylla
Historic range of big-leaf mahogany in South America
Current range of big-leaf mahogany in South America
  • Swietenia belizensis Lundell
  • Swietenia candollei Pittier
  • Swietenia krukovii Gleason
  • Swietenia macrophylla var. marabaensis Ledoux & Lobato
  • Swietenia tessmannii Harms



Mahogany wood is strong and is usually a source for furniture, musical instruments, ships, doors, coffins, decors. [7]


Mahogany is characterised by its large leaves (up to 45 cm long). The leaflets were even number and were connected by a central midrib. [7]


The fruits are called "sky fruits" because of its upwards growth towards the sky. The fruits of mahogany can be measure to 40 cm in length, in a light grey to brown capsule. Each fruit capsule could contain 71 winged seeds. [7]


The seeds of mahogany can reach 7 to 12 cm long.[7]


Unlike mahogany sourced from its native locations, plantation mahogany grown in Asia is not restricted in trade. The mahogany timber grown in these Asian plantations is the major source of international trade in genuine mahogany today. The Asian countries which grow the majority of Swietenia macrophylla are India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Fiji, Philippines, Singapore, and some others, with India and Fiji being the major world suppliers. The tree is also planted in Laos PDR.

Medicinal use

Sky fruit concentrate and pure Swietenia Mahogany seed are approved by Ministry of Health Malaysia as a natural remedy. Research has demonstrated its anti-hyperglycaemic activity in normoglyceamic rats. [8]

There are also claims of its ability to improve blood circulation and skin condition, as well as anti-erectile dysfunction. [9]

However, there are reports of liver injury or hepatotoxicity after consumption of Mahogany Seeds both in raw form [10]and raw seeds grind and pack in capsule form.[11] The severity of liver damage varies. There are also the report of single case kidney injury and polyarthralgia. In most cases, the liver function was recovered after stopping the consumption.[10] The exact mechanism of these adverse events is currently unknown.[12]

These cases that happened are the first reports of Swietenia Macrophylla seeds’ association with liver injury.[10] This may also due to over dosage and consumption of contaminated raw seeds which are never been thoroughly investigated. Based on acute oral toxicity studies of Swietenia Macrophylla seeds, the consumption of Swietenia Macrophylla by humans is safe if the dose is less than 325 mg/kg body weight. The usual dose of Swietenia Macrophylla prescribed in Malaysian folk-lore medicine is one seed per day.[13]

Common names

The species is also known under other common names, including bastard mahogany,[14] broad-leaved mahogany, Brazilian mahogany, large-leaved mahogany, genuine mahogany, tropical American mahogany, and sky fruit, among others.

  • English - big leaf mahogany, large-leaved mahogany, Brazilian mahogany
  • French - Acajou à grandes feuilles, acajou du Honduras
  • Spanish - caoba, mara, mogno
  • Malayalam - mahagony
  • Tamil - Thenkani (தேன்கனி)
  • Telugu - mahagani, peddakulamaghani
  • Sinhala - mahogani (මහෝගනි)
  • Chinese - 向天果


  1. "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  2. "Swietenia macrophylla". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  3. "Swietenia macrophylla". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  4. Free C (2012). "Home". SwietKing.ofrg. SwietKing Research. Retrieved 2015-01-22.
  5. Elevitch CR, Wilkinson KM (2000). Agroforestry Guides for Pacific Islands. Permanent Agriculture Resources. p. 57. ISBN 9780970254405.
  6. Cernansky R (August 2018). "How to plant a trillion trees". Nature. 560 (7720): 542–544. Bibcode:2018Natur.560..542C. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06031-x. PMID 30158623.
  7. admin. "Swietenia macrophylla: Big-leaf mahogany". Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM). Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  8. Hashim MA, Yam MF, Hor SY, Lim CP, Asmawi MZ, Sadikun A (May 2013). "Anti-hyperglycaemic activity of swietenia macrophylla king (meliaceae) seed extracts in normoglycaemic rats undergoing glucose tolerance tests". Chinese Medicine. 8 (1): 11. doi:10.1186/1749-8546-8-11. PMC 3668191. PMID 23684219.
  9. "Home: ENVIS-Center of NBRI on Plants and Pollution". nbrienvis.nic.in. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  10. Yee Leong W, Wah Soe W, Vasudevan A, Kiong Teo E, Ming Fock K (2018-09-01). "42. Consumption of Swietenia macrophylla seeds can lead to hepatitis and autoimmune phenomena". Rheumatology Advances in Practice. 2 (suppl_1). doi:10.1093/rap/rky034.005 (inactive 2019-12-01).
  11. "HSA Updates on Reports of Liver Injury After Consumption of Mahogany Seeds (Sky Fruit)" (PDF). Health Sciences Authority Press Release. 11 December 2018.
  12. "CHP investigates suspected cases of hepatotoxicity after consumption of sky fruit seeds and related products". www.info.gov.hk. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  13. Balijepalli MK, Suppaiah V, Chin AM, Buru AS, Sagineedu SR, Pichika MR (2015). "Acute oral toxicity studies of Swietenia macrophylla seeds in Sprague Dawley rats". Pharmacognosy Research. 7 (1): 38–44. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.147197. PMC 4285647. PMID 25598633.
  14. Flowers of India: Big-leaf mahogany
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