Toona sinensis, with common names Chinese mahogany, Chinese toon, or red toon (Chinese: 香椿; pinyin: xiāngchūn; Hindi: daaraluu; Malay: suren; Vietnamese: tông dù) is a species of Toona native to eastern and southeastern Asia, from North Korea south through most of eastern, central and southwestern China to Nepal, northeastern India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and western Indonesia.
|Foliage and seed capsules|
It is a deciduous tree growing to 25 metres (82 ft) tall with a trunk up to 70 cm diameter. The bark is brown, smooth on young trees, becoming scaly to shaggy on old trees. The leaves are pinnate, 50–70 cm long and 30–40 cm broad, with 10–40 leaflets, the terminal leaflet usually absent (paripinnate) but sometimes present (imparipennate); the individual leaflets 9–15 cm long and 2.5–4 cm broad, with an entire or weakly serrated margin. The flowers are produced in summer in panicles 30–50 cm long at the end of a branch; each flower is small, 4–5 mm diameter, with five white or pale pink petals. The fruit is a capsule 2–3.5 cm long, containing several winged seeds.
Cultivation and usesEdit
The young leaves of T. sinensis (xiāngchūn) are extensively used as a vegetable in China; they have a floral, yet onion-like flavor, attributed to volatile organosulfur compounds. Plants with red young leaves are considered of better flavour than those where the young leaves are green.
In China And Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, the young leaves of Toona Sinensis or commonly known as Chinese Mahogany is used to make Toona Paste is used as a condiment for the following purpose:
1. To serve with plain rice porridge as breakfast and simple meals.
2. To enhance the flavour of a dish or soup. Normally common dishes made with Toona paste are Chinese Mahogany Fried Rice, Chinese Mahogany Beancurd, Chinese Mahogany Mushroom Soup.
The timber is hard and reddish; it is valuable, used for furniture making  and for bodies of electric guitars. Being a "true mahogany" (mahogany other than Swietenia), it is one of the common replacements for Swietenia mahogany ("genuine mahogany") which is now commercially restricted from being sourced natively.
Outside its native region T. sinensis is valued more as a large ornamental tree for its haggard aspect. It is by far the most cold-tolerant species in the Meliaceae and the only member of the family that can be cultivated successfully in northern Europe.
In Chinese literature, Toona sinensis is often used for a rather extreme metaphor, with a mature tree representing a father. This manifests itself occasionally when expressing best wishes to a friend's father and mother in a letter, where one can write "wishing your Toona sinensis and daylily are strong and happy" (simplified Chinese: 椿萱并茂; traditional Chinese: 椿萱並茂; pinyin: chūnxuānbìngmào), with Toona sinensis metaphorically referring to the father and daylily to the mother.
- Yousheng, C.; Sziklai, O. (1985), "Preliminary study on the germination of Toona sinensis (A. Juss.) roem. seed from eleven Chinese provenances", Forest Ecology and Management, 10 (3): 269–281, doi:10.1016/0378-1127(85)90119-7CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Hua Peng, David J. Mabberley, Caroline M. Pannell, Jennifer M. Edmonds & Bruce Bartholomew. "Toona sinensis". Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 25 May 2012.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- "Toona sinensis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- University of Melbourne: Sorting Toona names
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- Plants for a Future: Toona sinensis
- Oriental Vegetable Seeds: Toona sinensis
- "Press Release UNEP/181_Cites Trade Controls to Take Effect for Mahogany".
- More, D. & White, J. (2003). Cassell's Trees of Britain & Northern Europe. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 709