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SWIETENIA FEBRIFUGA. FEBRIFUGE MAHOGA N Y-TREE.
Class X. DECANDRIA.--Order I. MONOGYNIA.
NATURAL ORDER, CEDRE LE Æ.
ve of the East Indies, stewwas first brought to the mo tand tonic in inte
Fig. (a) represents the germen in outline magnified; (b) the capsule.
wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Tais plant is a native of the East Indies, growing in the mountainous parts of the Rajahmundry Circar, north of Samulcotah and Peddapore. The tree was first brought to the notice of European practitioners by Dr. Roxburgh, who discovered that its bark was a valuable astringent and tonic in intermittent fever. It is cultivated with three other species in the botanical garden at Calcutta. The Telingas call it Soymida, but on the Coromandel Coast it is commonly under the name of Red-wood tree, which its Tamool name implies. It flowers about the end of the cold, or beginning of the hot season, and ripens its seeds three or four months after.
gray, scabrous, cracked bark. The branches are numerous, the lower ones spreading, the upper ascending, forming a very large shady head. The leaves are alternate and abruptly pinnate, about a foot long, composed of three or four pairs of opposite, petioled, oval, obtuse or emarginated leaflets, each from three to five inches long and from two to three broad, smooth, shining, the lower side extending a little further down the petioles than the upper side, and of a bright green colour. The flowers are very numerous, middle-sized, whitish, and inodorous, and disposed in racemes which rise from the axillæ of the upper degenerate leaves, and hence may form very large, terminal, diffuse panicles, furnished with small bracteas. The calyx is inferior, synsepalous, 5-cleft, oval, deciduous; the nectary formed by the union of the lower part of the filaments is scarcely half the length of the petals, and bellied. The petals are five, obovate, obtuse, concave, and expanding. The filaments are ten, very short, inserted just within the mouth of the staminiferous tube. The germen is conical, surmounted by a thick tapering style, crowned with a large targetted stigma, shutting up the mouth of the nectary. The capsule is large, ovate, and 5-valved, with the valves gaping from the top. The receptacle in the centre is large, spongy, and 5-angled, the angles being sharp and connected with the sutures of the capsule. The seeds are many in each cell, imbricated, obliquely wedge-shaped, and enlarged by a long membranaceous wing, inserted into a brown speck, on the upper part of the excavations of the receptacle. The albumen is fleshy, the embryo straight, and the cotyledons flat and foliaceous.
The generic name Swietenia, was given to this tree by Jacquin, in honour of the celebrated Baron Van Swieten, first physician to Maria Theresa of Germany, author of some botanical tracts, and well known by his voluminous Commentaries on Boerhaave's Lectures.
The wood of this tree is of a dull red colour, remarkably hard and heavy ; it is reckoned by the natives the most durable timber with which they are acquainted; on that account it is used in the building of their temples, and for various other useful purposes. The wood of another species of this genus, the common Mahogany (Swietenia mahogoni) is perhaps the most majestic of trees, for though some rise to a greater height, this tree, like the oak and the cedar, impresses the spectator with the strongest feelings of its firmness and duration. In the rich valleys among the mountains of Cuba, and those that open upon the bay of Honduras, the mahogany expands to so giant a trunk, divides into so many massy arms, and throws the shade of its shining green leaves, spotted with tufts of pearly flowers over so vast an extent of surface, that it is difficult to imagine a vegetable production combining in such a degree the qualities of elegance and strength, of beauty and sublimity. The precise period of its growth is not accurately known, but as when large it changes but little during the life of a man, the time of its arriving at maturity is probably not less than two hundred years. Some idea of its size, and also of its commercial value, may be formed from the fact that a single log, imported at Liverpool, weighed nearly seven tons, was in the first instance sold for 3781., resold for 525l., and would, had the dealers been certain of its quality, have been worth 10001. It is a native of South America and the West India islands; has an aromatic, agreeable smell ; its excellency for domestic purposes is well known in England, and its bark has been said to possess similar medicinal powers to the S. febrifuga.
As is the case with much other timber, the finest mahogany trees, both for size and quality, are not in the most accessible situations; and as it is always imported in large masses, the transportation of it for any distance overland is so difficult, that the very best trees, both on the island and on the main land-those