mahogany


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mahogany,

common name for the Meliaceae, a widely distributed family of chiefly tropical shrubs and trees, often having scented wood. The valuable hardwood called mahogany is obtained from many members of the family; in America and Europe it is imported for cabinetmaking and similar uses. According to tradition it was first introduced to England from the West Indies when Sir Walter Raleigh had a mahogany table made for Queen Elizabeth I; the popularity of the wood increased steadily in the 18th cent. The different mahoganies vary in color from golden to deep red brown; most are close-grained and resistant to termites. The principal sources are the tropical American genus Swietenia (especially S. macrophylla, bigleaf mahogany, the present main source, and S. mahogani, West Indian mahogany, the historic main source) and the W African genus Khaya (especially K. ivorensis).

Another important member of the family is the West Indian cedar, or cigar-box tree (Cedrela odorata), whose scented, insect-repellent wood is commonly used for cigar boxes. The wood of the chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach) of Asia, introduced to (and now naturalized in) the S United States, Africa, and the Mediterranean as an ornamental, is also used for lumber. The name mahogany is also given to numerous unrelated tropical trees that provide similar lumber.

The mahogany family is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales.

mahogany

A straight-grained wood of intermediate density, pinkish to red-brown in color; used primarily for interior cabinetwork and decorative paneling. See also: Douglas fir

Mahogany

 

the reddish or brownish wood obtained from tropical trees that are often called mahogany trees. It is very sturdy and heavy and polishes well. The color of mahogany results from the presence of pigments, which are sometimes extracted for the manufacture of dyes. Most often used to obtain mahogany are American and African mahogany trees of the family Meliaceae and the sappanwood tree of the family Caesalpiniaceae from Southeast Asia (which has the fragrance of vio-lets). Mahogany is used for veneers in the furniture industry and for the interior decoration of ships, railroad cars, and apartments. The wood of the yew, black alder, and sequoia, which have the red color but not the other qualities of genuine mahogany, is sometimes called mahogany.


Mahogany

 

(Swietenia mahagoni), an evergreen tree of the family Meliaceae. It is up to 15 m high. The leaves are regular and paripinnate. The flowers are five-parted and in axillary panicles. The fruit is an elongated quinquevalvate capsule with numerous flat, winged seeds. The plant grows wild in the West Indies. The wood of the mahogany tree is hard, very durable, heavy, and attractive. It has grayish white sapwood and reddish brown heartwood. The wood is used primarily for artistic items, such as furniture and small turned products. The wood of many other tropical trees of the family Meliaceae (including other species of Swietenia and of the genera Khaya, Dysoxylum, and Carapa) and of other families of trees is also called mahogany.

mahogany

[mə′häg·ə·nē]
(botany)
Any of several tropical trees in the family Meliaceae of the Geraniales.
(materials)
The hard wood of these trees, especially the red or yellow-brown wood of the West Indies mahogany tree (Swietenia mahagoni).

mahogany

1. A straight-grained wood of intermediate density, pinkish to red-brown in color; found principally in the West Indies, and Central and South America. Used primarily for interior cabinetwork and decorative paneling.
2. Wood from a number of tropical species which resemble mahogany, generally classified as to origin, i.e., African mahogany, Philippine mahogany, etc.

mahogany


mahogany

1. any of various tropical American trees of the meliaceous genus Swietenia, esp S. mahagoni and S. macrophylla, valued for their hard reddish-brown wood
2. any of several trees with similar wood, such as African mahogany (genus Khaya) and Philippine mahogany (genus Shorea)
3. 
a. the wood of any of these trees
b. (as modifier): a mahogany table
4. a reddish-brown colour
References in classic literature ?
Fanny's imagination had prepared her for something grander than a mere spacious, oblong room, fitted up for the purpose of devotion: with nothing more striking or more solemn than the profusion of mahogany, and the crimson velvet cushions appearing over the ledge of the family gallery above.
A shiny black steam-yacht, with mahogany deck-house, nickel-plated binnacles, and pink-and-white-striped awnings, puffed up the harbour, flying the burgee of some New York club.
That striking picture dominated a massive mahogany desk, and, in front of this desk, a very roomy, tall-backed armchair of dark green velvet.
One day last spring, in town, I was in company with two men, striking instances of what I am talking of; Lord St Ives, whose father we all know to have been a country curate, without bread to eat; I was to give place to Lord St Ives, and a certain Admiral Baldwin, the most deplorable-looking personage you can imagine; his face the colour of mahogany, rough and rugged to the last degree; all lines and wrinkles, nine grey hairs of a side, and nothing but a dab of powder at top.
The drawing-room at the Hotel de la Fleur was a small room, with a cottage piano, and a suite of mahogany furniture, covered in stamped velvet, neatly arranged around the walls.
The dining-room, large and well-proportioned, had windows on two sides of it, with heavy curtains of red rep; there was a big table in the middle; and at one end an imposing mahogany sideboard with a looking-glass in it.
Without the ceremony of knocking, Parfen entered a small apartment, furnished like a drawing-room, but with a polished mahogany partition dividing one half of it from what was probably a bedroom.
The part of the room behind the columns, with a high silk-curtained mahogany bedstead on one side and on the other an immense case containing icons, was brightly illuminated with red light like a Russian church during evening service.
So the Tin Woodman knocked a mahogany center-table to pieces with his axe and fitted one of the legs, which was beautifully carved, on to the body of Jack Pumpkinhead, who was very proud of the acquisition.
Granet had approached the dark mahogany sideboard and was fingering some bottles.
A single small red lamp upon the sideboard was reflected tenfold by the plate about it and the mahogany beneath it, though its single wick cast but a feeble light into the large, dimly shadowed room.
The body rested in a fine mahogany coffin fitted with a plate of glass.