West indies mahogany is the tree originally designated as mahogany; there are other species of sweitenia as well as other timber trees which use the name. West indies mahogany is a large tree, 75 feet or more in height, but typically 30 - 40 feet tall. It has a rounded, open canopy, tending to produce large fairly low branches if unpruned. The bark of young trees is gray and smooth, becoming furrowed with age. Leaves are dark green, alternate, evenly pinnately compound, up to 10 inches long, with 3 or 4 pairs of leaflets, each 2 - 3 inches long. New leaves are reddish purple. The tree loses its old leaves at the end of the cool season as new growth is beginning. Flowers are small, not showy, green-yellow, borne in clusters. Fruits are brown, oval, dry, woody, 5-lobed capsules 3 - 6 inches long, containing abundant winged seeds dispersed by wind. Seeds are used for propagation. The high value of mahogany timber needs no elaboration. In cultivation, mahogany will grow in a range of well-drained soils, but does best in good soil with added fertilizer. As an ornamental tree, mahogany is a good choice for gardens and parks, especially where only light shade is desired. It responds well to pruning. It is a common street tree in south florida.