Often referred to in the wood trade as Tropical American mahogany, Honduras mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) grows throughout much of Central and South America, including southern Mexico. However, the first mahogany discovered by Spanish explorers was Cuban mahogany (Swietenia mahogoni), a species no longer commercially available. Another true mahogany exists in AfricaIn the tropical forest, Honduras mahogany sometimes attains 150' heights and diameters of 72". Trees planted and grown for lumber on plantations (found in mahogany's natural range and the South Pacific), run smaller. Honduras mahogany on the stump has a heavily buttressed trunk base, scaly gray bark, and leaves displaying six to eight leaflets arranged on a single stem, much like those of the black walnut tree. Honduras mahogany wood has straight, semi-open grain and a color that ranges from yellow-brown to dark red, depending on where it grows. With age, though, mahogany of all colors becomes a rich, dark red-brown. The wood also may display exceptional fiddleback, quilt, and ribbon-stripe figure. A bit lighter than maple at 32 pounds per cubic foot, Honduras mahogany matches oak in strength. The wood also with stands moisture, resists fire and decay, and remains stable in use.
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