Trichilia dregeana, the forest mahogany or in Afrikaans bosrooiessenhout (bush red “essen” wood), becomes a tall tree, often 10 m, but occasionally 35 m in height (SA Tree List No. 300).
The alternate or opposite leaves of T. dregeana are compound on stalks that are sometimes hairy and up to 10 cm long.
The imparipinnate leaves bear three to five pairs of leaflets, plus the leaflet at the tip (that makes it imparipinnate and not paripinnate). The petiolules, stalks of individual leaflets, are up to 1 cm long and thick.
Leaflets are obovate to oblanceolate (the broadest part nearer to the tip than the base). Leaflet tips taper, the base also tapering to rounded and the margin entire to rolled under. Leaflets are up to 21 cm by 8,5 cm, usually less.
Leaflet surfaces are quilted, dark glossy green above, paler and only slightly hairy below or not at all. Eight to twelve pairs of straight, parallel, lateral veins ascend slightly towards the margins, the midrib recessed.
The species is distributed along the eastern part of South Africa, from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo and beyond the border. The habitat is high rainfall, evergreen, coastal forests. It is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
The pale pink wood is used in manufacturing furniture, was favoured in the 18th century for use in repairing ships in the Durban harbour (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002; Pooley, 1993; http://redlist.sanbi.org).