top of page

Swietenia humilis - Pacific coast mahogany


Native to:



Central America-Costa Rica to Mexico

Dry Deciduous forest, savanna, hillsides, fields. 5 meter tall tree, up to 400 meters above sea level.

Swietenia humilis - Pacific coast mahogany

Ecological value:

Slow growing, attracts insect pollinators including bees. Pioneer species, used to recover degraded soils/land, particularly in dry landscapes. Prevents soil erosion. Ornamental value.
Listed as endangered.

Material uses:

Heavy timber, used in fine carpentry work. Oil from seed kernels may have commercial value similar to avocado and sunflower oils, and which could be used in cosmetics. Bark used for dyeing and tanning leather. Gum from bark. Might hybridize with S. macrophylla and S. mahogoni.

Edible uses:

Bark and seeds contain a poisonous alkaloid, and extracts might show promise as an insecticide against the European Corn Borer and Fall Armyworm.

Medicinal use:

Seeds are used to destroy parasitic worms, and are also used to treat coughs, chest pains and cancer.

Other details:

The crushed fruit shells have been used as a potting medium. Can be weedy. Used as a shade tree for cocoa and coffee. Seeds contain allopathic compounds and can inhibit growth in some plant species.


Hyejung Moon/Christine Facella


“Swietenia Humilis Zucc. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 18, 2023.
‌“Swietenia Humilis - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 18, 2023.
Perez-Rubio et al, ‘Physicochemical characterization and fatty acid content of ‘venadillo’ (Swietenia humilis Zucc.) seed oil’. African Journal of Biotechnology. Vol 11, No 22, 2012
Image source: Dick Culbert.

bottom of page