Monday, May 25, 2015

Mahogany flower (মেহগনি ফুল) - Swietenia macrophylla

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Bengali Name : Mehogoni ful (মেহগনি ফুল).
Common Name : Big-leaf Mahogany, Honduras Mahogany.
Botanical Name : Swietenia macrophylla
Family : Meliaceae (mahogany family)

মেহগনি বাংলাদেশের আদি গাছ না হলেও এখন এমন ভাবে এই দেশে মানিয়ে নিয়েছে যে বিদেশী গাছ বলে মনেই হয় না। শীতের পরে পাতা ঝরিয়ে ফেলে, আর বসন্তের শেষের দিকে গাছে নিয়ে আসে ছোট ছোট অনেক ফুল, যা সহজে চোখ পরে না। না পরার কারণ ফুলের রং, ফেকাশে সবুজ রঙ। এই গাছের এত কদর এর সুন্দর কাঠের জন্য। মেহগনি ফলের বিচি পাখা যুক্ত হয়, বীজের ভারকেন্দ্রকে ভর করে বীজটি হেলিকপ্টারের মতন বাতাসে ভেসে বেশ খানিকটা দুরে যেতে পারে। ছোট বেলায় এই বীজ কুড়িয়ে নিয়ে আসতাম আর বিল্ডিং এর ছাদ থেকে ছেড়ে দিতাম। দেখতাম কেমন করে উচু থেকে হাওয়ায় ভর করে ঘুরতে ঘুরতে নিচে নাম বীজগুলো।

Mahogany is probably the commercially most planted plant in Bangladesh for the timber. Most of the streets and the yards are packed with these trees. Their presence is abundantly in such a huge amount that these days it is hard to believe that the plant is actually imported from outside. Yes, it is native to the West Indies and South American region where the plant grows naturally.

This plant is commonly known as Big-leaf mahogany, Honduras mahogany, Brazilian mahogany, etc. Keeping the similarity with the common name, the local name here in Bangladesh is Mehogoni (মেহগনি). It spread throughout the world by the British colonist during the colonization period. Binomial name of the plant is Swietenia macrophylla and it belongs to the plant family Meliaceae.

Mahogany (মেহগনি) is a tall (45-60 meter) growing plant that grows like a pillar. It is a deciduous plant having a very long life (up to 350 years). The tree grows based on the single straight trunk and very rarely branched. Leafs are large and evenly pinnate. The leafs are green, dark green in color. But new leafs are reddish in color and looks very beautiful. The leafs also turn into reddish before falling. In Bangladesh this plant doesn't require that much of cares, in fact I have never seen anyone to taking care of this plant.

On the tree the flowers are not showy. Because of the size and color of the flower. Mahogany (মেহগনি) flowers are very small and blooms as a cluster. Blooming season is the End of March to the beginning of the April. The color of the flowers are pale green (that's why they are hard to notice) and also the tree uses to be with thick leafs during blooming season. Ground under the tree uses to get covered with numerous small flowers (specially after the rain). Flowers are not scented.

Flower is star shaped. It has 5 petals and the green petals are bended to the inner side. Center of the flower is having a crown like thing that is brownish (or should I say Mahogany color). Despite of having numerous flowers, very few of those turn into a fruit. Shape of the fruits are like a small papaya. Outer shell of the fruit is very hard and they automatically burst out when fully ripped.

Mahogany fruits contain numerous seeds inside. Each of the seeds are having a thin, light feather like blade with that. The center of the mass of the fruit is near the seed. That's why the seed can rotate around the center of the mass like a helicopter's blade. And that helps the seeds to travel a respectable amount of distance.

As I have mentioned before that the Mahogany (মেহগনি) is the most commercially planted tree (not only in Bangladesh but also in the whole world). The tree provides one of the world's finest but cheap (in term's of price despite of the quality) timber which is the raw material for the various furniture. The color of the timber is reddish, but these days the color is known as Mahogany color.

Apart from the timber uses, the plant provides few other benefits. The seeds are very bitter in taste and helpful against the diabetics (soaking the seed into water and then drink). Extracted oil from the seed is useful against the insects.

The reddish leafs before withering.

New leafs. Cute and colorful!

I have taken the photos for this article from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ). It was April 2014 and the places were Gulshan (গুলশান) and Banani (বনানী) of Dhaka city. This plant is vastly available throughout the country. In fact it is one of the most predominant planted plants from Bangladesh.

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

1 comment:

  1. thank you. very informative. i like to think of myself as an amateur naturalist, too. however if i may add something, in indonesia where i live, this species of swietenia mahagoni flowers are mildly scented and give a nice aromatherapy if we sit underneath the tree. Mei T. Indonesia