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Cedrela odorata foliage.jpg
Cedrela odorata foliage
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Meliaceae
Genus: Cedrela

Cedrela is a genus of several species in the mahogany family, Meliaceae. They are evergreen or dry-season deciduous trees with pinnate leaves, native to the tropical and subtropical New World, from southern Mexico south to northern Argentina. The name is derived from a diminutive form of Cedrus (cedar).


Cedrela odorata is the most common species in the genus, widespread in seasonally dry tropical and subtropical forests; it is deciduous in the dry season which may last several months. C. lilloi and C. montana occur at higher altitudes in moister conditions, and are evergreen or only briefly deciduous.

These additional names have been published, but are not now accepted as distinct taxa (see Pennington & Styles 1981): C. angustifolia, C. balansae, C. barbata, C. boliviana, C. brunelliodes, C. ciliolata, C. discolor, C. febrifuga, C. guanensis, C. mexicana, C. oaxacensis, C. occidentalis, C. pacayana, C. paraguariensis, C. rosei, C. rotunda, C. saxatilis, C. sintenisii, C. steinbachii, C. velutina.

Some authors take a wider view of the genus, and include the related AsianAustralasian genus Toona in Cedrela.


Cedrela odorata is a very important timber tree, producing a lightweight fragrant wood with very good resistance to termites and other wood-boring insects, and also rot-resistant outdoors. The wood is often sold under the name "Spanish-cedar" (like many trade names, confusing as it is neither Spanish nor a cedar), and is the traditional wood used for making cigar boxes, as well as being used for general outdoor and construction work, paneling and veneer wood. It is also used for the necks of classical guitars, as well as the linings (interior strips of wood that attach the top and bottom of the guitar to the sides). Some species are now CITES-listed, in particular Cedrela odorata.[1] It is also grown as an ornamental tree, and has become naturalized in some areas in Africa, southeast Asia and Hawaii. The other species have similar wood, but are less-used due to scarcity.


  • Pennington, T. D., and Styles, B. T., eds. 1981. Flora Neotropica vol. 28. New York Botanical Garden, New York.
  • Smith, C. E., Jr. 1960. A revision of Cedrela (Meliaceae). Fieldiana 29: 295–341.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "CITES species database entry for Cedrela odorata". Retrieved 2012-10-22.