Swietenia macrophylla Meliaceae Synonyms

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Swietenia macrophylla 


Synonyms: Swietenia krukovii, S. belizensis 

Common names: Big-, broad- or large-leaved mahogany, Honduras mahogany (En); 

mahokkaanee bai yai (Tha); dái-ngua (Vie). 

Key characteristics: Medium to

large; high buttresses; inner bark

red or pinkish-brown; 3–6 pairs of

leaflets; flowers 5-merous; seed

capsule brown, 10–22 cm long with

5 valves.

Description: A large tree up to 40–60 m high, 

branchless up to 18–25 m, and up to 200 cm in 

diameter, with buttresses up to 5 m high. Bark on older 

trees scaly, shaggy, deeply furrowed, brownish grey to 

reddish brown. Inner bark red-brown or pinkish red. 

Leaves alternate, even pinnate, with 2–8 pairs of 

leaflets, each about 9–13 × 3–4 cm. Flowerstands 10–

20 cm long, flowers with 5-lobed calyx, ciliate sepals and 5 (or 4) petals. Light brown seed 

capsule, 10–22 cm long, opening by 5 valves, seeds 7.5–12 cm long, with wings. 

Use: One of the finest timbers for high quality furniture and cabinet work, interior panelling, 

doors and decorative borders, boat building, musical instruments, carving and other uses. The 

bark is used for dying and tanning leather and oil can be extracted from the seed kernels. In 

India gum is tapped from cuts in the bark. 

Ecology: Growing naturally in tropical rain forests up to 1,500 m altitude. 

Distribution: From Central and South America. Planted throughout the tropics, including 

Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

Swietenia mahagoni 


Common names: Small- or narrow-leaved mahogany

West Indian mahogany, Spanish or Cuban mahogany 

(En); mahokkaanee bai lek (Tha). 

Key characteristics: Smaller

tree; short, blunt buttresses; 2– 5

pairs of leaflets; fruit capsule 4.5–

10 cm long. 

Description: To 30 m high, often with a short trunk and 

many branches. Buttresses short and blunt. 

Leaves alternate, 2–5 pairs of opposite leaflets, 

each 4–8 cm long and 1.5–3.3 cm wide. 

Inflorescence 5–18 cm long, flowers smooth. 

Fruit capsule 4.5– 10 cm. Seeds 2–6 cm long. 

Use and ecology: As S. macrophylla

Distribution: As S. macrophylla, except not 

reported from Vietnam. 

References: Soerianegara & Lemmens (1994). 

The map shows the distribution of both species.→→→ 



Syzygium aqueum & S. samarangense 


Synonyms:  Sysygium aqueum: Eugenia aquea, E. javanica, E. mindanaensis. S. 

samarangense: E. javanica, E. mananquil, Myrtus samarangensis, Jambosa alba 

Common names: Aqueum: Water apple, bell fruit (En); jambu air, jambu air mawar (Ins, Mal); 

tambis (Phi); machomphu-pa (Tha). Samarangense: Wax jambu, java apple (En); jambu 

semarang, jambu klampok (Ins); jambu air mawar (Mal); makopa (Phi); chomphu-kaemmaem, 

chomphu-khieo, chomphu-nak (Tha); man, roi (Vie). 

Key characteristics: Trunk short,

crooked, often branching from base;

crown irregular; leaves opposite;

flowers yellow-white; aqueum: 5–15

mm long leafstalk and 5–7mm long

calyx, small fruits; samarangense: 3–

5mm long leaf stalk, 15mm long calyx

and larger fruit; aromatic. 

Description:  S. aqueum: 3–10m high with short 

crooked trunk, 30–50cm in diameter, often 

branching near base. Irregular crown. Leaves 

opposite, elliptic-cordate to obovate-oblong, 7– 

25cm long, 2.5–16cm wide, with 0.5– 1.5cm long 

leafstalk, sometimes with aromatic smell when 

crushed. Inflorescence at tip of twigs or from leaf 

axils with 3–7 yellow-white flowers, 2.5–3.5cm in 

diameter, calyx 5–7mm long, 4 petals about 7mm 

long. Fruit cone-shaped, glossy white to red, 1.5–

2cm long and 2.5–3.5cm wide, watery with 1–2, sometimes 6 seeds. E. samarangense very 

similar but is somewhat larger, has thick, 3–5mm long leaf stalks, 15mm long calyx and larger 

pyriform fruits. Improved cultivars have green fruits. Leaves always aromatic smelling. 

Use: Grown mainly for the fruit, which is eaten fresh, used in salads or sometimes pickled or 

stewed. The hard reddish wood can be used for construction, but the dimensions of S. aqueum 

are not very large. Various parts of S. samarangense are used in traditional medicine. 

Ecology: Belongs to fairly moist tropical 

lowlands up to 1,200 m altitude, preferring 

heavy soils and easy access to water, also 

during the dry season, often planted along 

streams and ponds. 

Distribution: Originates and widely distributed 

in Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, 

Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. In Vietnam 

listed as Eugenia javanica which is synonym 

for both species. 

References: Guzman et al. (1986), Verheij & 

Coronel (1992). 


Syzygium cumini 


Synonyms: Myrtus cumini, Eugenia jambolanum, E. cumini 

Common names: Jambolan (En); pring bai (Cam); jamblang, duwet (Ins); va (Lao); jambulana, 

jambulan (Mal); thabyang-hpyoo (Mya); duhat, lomboi (Phi); wa, hakhiphae (Tha); vôi rung, trâm 

môc (Vie). 

Key characteristics: Low

branching, irregular crown; bark

rough, dark grey below, light

and smooth above; leaves

opposite, pinkish when young,

faint turpentine smell if

crushed; 4 grey-white to pink

petals; violet fruit ovoid-oblong,

1–5 cm long

Description: A stout evergreen tree 10– 20m (sometimes 

30m) high, and 40– 90cm in diameter, branching low with 

irregular crown spreading to about 12 m wide. Rough, dark 

grey bark on lower part, lighter grey and smooth higher up. 

Leaves opposite, entire, broadly obovate-elliptic to elliptic-

oblong, 5–25 cm long and 2–10 cm wide with 1–3.5 cm 

long leaf stalk, cuneate or rounded at base, tip blunt, 

edges thin transparent, pinkish when young, later dark 

green above, faint turpentine smell when crushed. Flowers 

in 5–12 cm long panicles, usually on leafless branches, 

flowers small, fragrant with four grey-white to pink petals. Fruit ovoid-oblong, 1–5 cm long, dark 

violet and juicy with 0–5 green to brown seeds, up to 3.5 cm long inside. 

Use: The subacid and astringent ripe fruit is eaten fresh or made into juice, jelly or wine. The 

leaves can be used as fodder. The abundant nectar of the flowers is a good source for bees to 

produce honey. The bark can be used for dyeing and also, together with seeds, has medicinal 

value. The tree is grown as shade tree, i.e. for coffee and the wood provides fair fuelwood. 

Ecology: Grows on riverbanks in the tropical lowlands, best up to 600 m altitude. Above this 

height it does not fruit but can still grow up to about 1,800 m altitude and provide timber. Prefers 

1,000 mm annual rain or more and a distinct dry season, but can withstand prolonged flooding. 

Distribution: Native to subtropical Himalayas, India, Sri Lanka, Malesian region and Australia 

and presently cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics. 

References: Guzman et al (1986), Hensleigh & Holaway (1988), Verheij & Coronel (1992). 


Syzygium jambos 


Synonym: Eugenia jambos 

Common names: Roseapple, malabar plum (En); châm'puu (Cam); jambu air mawar, jambu 

mawar, jambu kraton (Ins); chièng, kièng (Lao); jambu kelampok, jambu mawar (Mal); thabyu-

thabye (Mya); chomphu-namdokmai, manomhom, yamu-panawa (Tha); lý, bô dào, roi (Vie). 

Key characteristics: Small; ever-

green; branching low; dense wide-

spread crown; stem mostly twisted at

base; bark brown, smooth but

furrowed; leaves oblong-lanceolate;

flowers 5–10 cm wide, greenish-

white; fruit round, to 5cm diameter,

white-yellow, sometimes pink. 

Description: An evergreen tree up to 10 m high and 

50 cm in diameter, often branching from low on the 

trunk and with dense wide spreading crown, stem 

cylindrical, sometimes quadrangular when young, 

mostly twisted at base. Bark brown, smooth, but 

furrowed. Leaves opposite, oblong-lanceolate, 9–26 

cm long and 1.5–6cm wide, thin leathery, cuneate at 

base, pointed at tip, shiny dark green above, lighter 

green and glandular punctate underneath with 5–6, 

rarely 13 mm long leaf stalk. Inflorescence 5– 10 cm 

long corymb, arising from tip of twigs or from leaf corners, 4–5(-10) flowered with large white to 

greenish-white, 5–10 cm wide 4-merous flowers with about 400 up to 4 cm long stamens. Fruit 

globose to ovoid, 2.5–5 cm in diameter, crowned by persistent 4-lobed calyx, whitish yellow, 

sometimes pink tainted, fragrant with yellow-pink flesh embedding 1–2(-4) sub-globose brown 

seeds, 1–1.5 cm in diameter. 

Use: Fresh fruit is not so tasty and popular, but is cooked or preserved in various ways and can 

also be distilled to yield a high quality rose-water. Essential oil is extracted from the leaves for 

use in perfume production. The heavy and hard heartwood can be used for construction timber. 

The bark is used for dyeing and tanning. Several plant parts are used medicinally. Also used as 

ornamental tree. 

Ecology: Tropical tree now being cultivated into the subtropics as well up to about 1,200 m 

altitude where climate is relatively wet. It grows on almost any slightly acid soil type including 


Distribution: From its center of origin in Malesian region, it has spread throughout the tropics 

and has become widely naturalized. 

References: Guzman et al (1986), Verheij & Coronel (1992). 


Syzygium malaccense 


Synonyms: Eugenia malaccensis, Jambosa malaccensis, E. domestica 

Common names: Malay apple (En); jambu bol (Ins, Mal); jambu merah (Mal); thabyo-thabyang 

(Mya); yanba, tersana, makopang-kalabaw (Phi); chomphu mamieo, chomphu saraek, chomphu 

daeng (Tha); cay dao, cay roi, dièu-dò (Vie). 

Description: A tree in 5–20 m high with a straight stem 

and a broadly ovoid canopy, often branching near the 

base. Leaves opposite, elliptic-oblong, 15–38 cm long and 

7–20 wide, thick leathery with 0.5–1.5 cm long thick leaf 

stalk, red when young. Inflorescence only on leafless twig 

parts, 1–12 flowered with 4-merous red flowers, 5–7 cm in 

diameter with numerous stamens. Fruit ellipsoid, 5– 8 cm 

in diameter, crowned by the incurved calyx segments, dark 

red or purplish yellow or yellow white with juicy, white and 

fragrant flesh and one big brown seed. 

Key characteristics: Small to

medium sized; straight stem,

often low branching; leaves

opposite and big up to 38 cm

long × 20 cm wide, thick

leathery; red flowers on

branches, red; fruits ellipsoid,

5–8 cm in diameter, dark red to

yellowish (looks like an apple). 

Use: Primarily grown for its fruit which is eaten fresh or cooked in various ways. Wood is used 

for construction. Bark, leaves and roots provide traditional medicine with antibiotic activity. 

Ecology: Native to wet tropical lowlands 

up to 1,200 m altitude. Needs year round 

water supply and prefers heavy soils. 

Distribution: Native to southeast Asia 

and primarily found in Malaysia and 

Indonesia, but also grown in Myanmar, 

Thailand and Vietnam. 

References: Verheij & Coronel (1992). 

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