Description: Trees, to 20 m high. Leaves bipinnate, alternate; stipular spines to 2 cm; rachis 1-3 cm long, pulvinate; pinnae 2, 4-10 mm long, pubescent, with a solitary gland at the top on upperside; leafl ets 2, opposite, 1.5-3.5 × 0.5-1.5 cm, oblong-oblanceolate, inequilateral, base and apex obtuse. Flowers 5 mm across, creamy, heads arranged in axillary or terminal panicled spikes; peduncle to 2 cm. Calyx campanulate, pubescent, lobes 5. Petals 5, to 4 mm, connate in the middle, densely tomentose without. Stamens many, monadelphous; fi laments to 7 mm. Fruit a pod, 8 × 1 cm, circinate or falcate, moniliform, dehiscent; seeds orbicular; aril white.
Madras thorn's facts
Did you know?
Monkeypod (Pithecellobium dulce) is potentially invasive of pastures in the tropics.
Madras thorn's Behavior & Ecology
An easily grown plant that can succeed in most soils, it prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position. Can also succeed in heavy clay soils. The tree can grow on poor soils, on wastelands and even with its roots in brackish water. Established plants are drought tolerant. Tolerates a pH as high as 8.3.
Madras thorn's Relationship with Humans
Uses around globe: The wood is hard and is used for making boxes, crates and wagon wheels. The seed oil, after refining and bleaching, is used to make soap. The bark is employed as a fish poison. The gum exuding from the trunk is valuable as tannin. The plant is known to be abortifacient, anodyne, astringent and larvicidal and a folk remedy for convulsions, dysentery, dyspepsia, earache, leprosy, peptic ulcers, sores, toothache and venereal diseases.