White mahogany (Khaya anthotheca)

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White mahogony, Khaya anthotheca
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White mahogany fact file

White mahogany description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderSapindales
FamilyMeliaceae
GenusKhaya (1)

This large evergreen tree has smooth, grey to brown bark, which flakes off in round scales on the older branches and stems (2) (3). The base of the trunk is markedly flared, but the rest of the trunk is very straight and reaches considerable heights before branching to form the crown (2). Each large leaf is composed of two to seven pairs of leaflets, each leaflet measuring seventeen by seven centimetres (2). The hairless leaflets are dark glossy green on the upper surface and pale green on the underside (2). The sweetly scented flowers of the white mahogany are white, measure ten millimetres across and occur in large, many-branched clusters at the tips of branches (2) (3). The fruit is an egg-shaped woody capsule, creamy-brown in colour and measuring three to five centimetres in diameter. This capsule splits into four or five valves to reveal winged seeds (2).

Also known as
African mahogany.
French
Acajou Blanc, Acajou D'Afrique.
Size
Height: 60 m (2)
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White mahogany biology

The small, white blooms of the white mahogany appear between September and December. The male and female flowers are separate, but occur on the same tree. Fruiting takes place between March and July (2).

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White mahogany range

Occurs from Sierra Leone eastwards to Uganda and Tanzania, and southwards to Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe (4).

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White mahogany habitat

The white mahogany grows in evergreen forest and forest fringing rivers, at altitudes between 120 and 1,525 metres (2) (4).

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White mahogany status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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White mahogany threats

This important source of timber has been heavily exploited, particularly in East and West Africa (1). Its handsome and hard wood is said to be suitable for furniture and in some areas it is used to make canoes (2). Regeneration of white mahogany populations in certain areas is poor, and it is believed that genetic diversity has been lost (1).

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White mahogany conservation

There are some conservation measures in place for this Vulnerable tree, with some populations being protected, as well as a limits or bans on log exports in certain countries (1).

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Genetic diversity
The variety of genes within a particular species, population or breed causing differences in morphology, physiology and behaviour.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2007)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Palgrave, K.C. (2002) Trees of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  3. PlantZAfrica (June, 2008)
    http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantklm/khayaantho.htm
  4. Styles, B.T. and White, F. (1991) Flora of Tropical East Africa: Meliaceae. A.A.Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
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Image credit

White mahogony, Khaya anthotheca  
White mahogony, Khaya anthotheca

© Ken Preston-Mafham / Premaphotos Wildlife

Premaphotos Wildlife
Amberstone
1 Kirland Road
Bodmin
Cornwall
PL30 5JQ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1208 78 258
Fax: +44 (0) 1208 72 302
library@premaphotos.co.uk
http://www.premaphotos.com

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