Higher classification Meliaceae
Scientific name Guarea
|Lower classifications Guarea cedrata, Guarea thompsonii|
Guarea is a genus of evergreen trees in the mahogany family Meliaceae, native to tropical Africa and Central and South America. They are large trees 20–45 m tall, with a trunk over 1 m trunk diameter, often buttressed at the base. The leaves are pinnate, with 4–6 pairs of leaflets, the terminal leaflet present. The flowers are produced in loose inflorescences, each flower small, with 4–5 yellowish petals. The fruit is a four or five-valved capsule, containing several seeds, each surrounded by a yellow-orange fleshy aril; the seeds are dispersed by hornbills and monkeys which eat the fleshy aril.
The timber is important; the African species are known as bossé, guarea, or pink mahogany, and the South American species as cramantee or American muskwood. It is said to possibly cause hallucinations if ingested.
The bark of Guarea rusbyi (Britton) Rusby, a synonym of Guarea guidonia (L.) Sleumer, is used as an expectorant named cocillana.
The wood can be used for sculpture and was favoured by the British 20th century sculptor Barbara Hepworth.