Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mahogany – the useful ornamental and timber tree

Apart from the monopodial growth as exhibited in the pagoda-shaped trees such as kapok, pelai and ketapang trees, you also have trees whose growth are sympodial. Trees with sympodial growth can be identified with the main tree trunk and branches fork into two as they grow.

Getting to know tree architecture can sometimes be useful if you want to grow a mixture of different trees together (as in plantation) or to grow them together in your garden. But you also have trees with one kind of growth in the juvenile stage and another kind in the mature phase.

One of the sympodial tree planted along the shoulder of roads in Kuching is the mahagony –Swietenia macrophylla.

There are rows of gracious mahagony lining both sides of the road along Jalan Keretapi. The mahagony seems to be growing very well which I understand was planted in the 1980’s. Perhaps mahagony is suitable to be chosen as a plantation tree for timber production.

Mahagony is a native of South America and is much sought after for its timber. The wood has a attractive reddish brown colour. It has been listed as a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites Appendix II). Mahogany is the national tree of Dominican Republic and Belize.

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