American muskwood


American muskwood is native to the Greater Antilles and from Costa Rica to southern Brazil. It reaches a height of 100 feet, with a trunk 3 feet in diameter. The leaves are up to 2 feet long and have up to 20 leaflets with sunken veins; the largest leaflets are up to 7 inches long. Flowers are about half an inch wide and are grouped in spikes up to a foot long. Fruits are up to three quarters of an inch in diameter and open in four parts to liberate an equal number of seeds, which are dispersed by birds. It flowers and produces fruits throughout the year, but more abundantly during spring and autumn. The wood resembles mahogany and is used for furniture, string instruments, and crafts. The generic name derives from the Arawak name for the tree. The species name honors the French botanist Gui Crescent Fagon (1638-1718).

The photographed tree is west of the Chemical Engineering Building. There are other trees south of this building and behind the residence occupied by the Geology Museum.

Guarea guidonia (Meliaceae)