Definition of sapele in US English:



  • A large tropical African hardwood tree, with reddish-brown timber that resembles mahogany.

    Genus Entandrophragma, family Meliaceae

    • ‘All products are made of three types of wood: ash from the US, beech from Germany and sapele from Africa.’
    • ‘There may be other woods that have as wide a variety of figure as sapele, but I'm not aware of any.’
    • ‘While the ITTO study found that loggers target 35 tree species, just two, gaboon mahogany and sapele mahogany, account for over half of all logged timber.’


Early 20th century: from the name of a port on the Benin River, Nigeria.