Cuban Mahogany

Cuban Mahogany
Swietenia mahagoni in the grove
Swietenia mahagoni in the grove

Over 200 years ago the Spanish created a mission on Palau.  Surrounding their buildings they established a grove of Cuban Mahogany, Swietenia mahagoni, the "Wood of Kings".  Swietenia mahagoni is the wood that planked the ships of the Spanish Armada.  Thomas Sheraton, Thomas Chippendale, and Duncan Phyfe chose Cuban Mahogany for their furniture.  It has been among the most prized and valuable timbers since the late 16th century.  By 1629 the Spanish began moving their shipyards to Mexico because the accessible trees were gone.  As its reputation grew, the supply of wood shrank.

As timber harvest methods became more sophisticated, the inaccessible trees became lumber.  By the mid 1700's it was becoming scarce.  By the mid 1800's good lumber was becoming rare.  By the late 1800's the species had been logged into genetic impoverishment and commercial extinction.  This destruction was finished by infestations of the pyralid moth and the ambrosia beetle.  By the turn of the 19th century Swietenia mahagoni was little more than a shrub or ornamental tree in its natural range.  Fortunately the species thrived on Palau.  The efforts of three generations of one Palauan family established groves of Cuban Mahogany around the island.  This preserved a stand of timber that never suffered the disasters of its natural range in the Caribbean region.

These Mahogany groves and the other species on the island are now being harvested in a sustainable program that will insure good lumber and genetic stock for reforestation.  Blue Moon Exotic Wood offers the first premium supply of Cuban Mahogany in over 100 years.  Cuban Mahogany is a timelessly elegant wood for any application.

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Cuban Mahogany leaf