Definitions

Toona

Toona

Toona is a genus of five species of trees in the mahogany family Meliaceae, native from Afganistan south to India, and east to North Korea, Papua New Guinea and eastern Australia .

Toona ciliata is important timber tree, providing a valuable hardwood used for furniture, ornamental panelling, shipbuilding, etc. The Australian population of T. ciliata was formerly treated as a distinct species T. australis.

Toona sinensis is of interest as by far the most cold-tolerant species in the Meliaceae, native in China as far north as 40°N in the Beijing area, where its tender shoots, called xiangchun are a traditional local leaf vegetable. It is the only member of the family that can be cultivated successfully in northern Europe, where it is sometimes planted as an ornamental tree in parks and avenues. Until recently, it had no widespread English common name, though Chinese Mahogany (reflecting its botanical relationship) is now used (e.g. Rushforth 1999).

In older texts, the genus was often incorporated within a wider circumscription of the related genus Cedrela, but that genus is now restricted to species from the New World.

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