Parkia speciosa

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Parkia speciosa


Tree to 35(-45) m high. Leaves alternate, primary rachis including petiole (11—)21—34(—45) cm long. Flowers bisexual. Seeds c. 18 per pod, elliptical or broadly elliptical in outline, lying horizontal or obliquely horizontal across the width of the pod, up to 23 mm long, foul smelling;


Asia-Tropical: Borneo present; Jawa (Jawa cultivated); Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia present); Philippines (Philippines present); Sumatera (Sumatera present), Indonesia as far east as Seram cultivated, Palawan present, S Thailand present
S Thailand and Malesia: Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Philippines (Palawan only). Cultivated outside its natural range in Indonesia as far east as Seram (E. Wijadja, personal comm.). In Java, frequently cultivated. — .


The mature green seeds are eaten avidly but in small quantities in Peninsular Malaya and Indonesia as a flavouring in stews. They are sold fresh as bunches of pods in markets, and as pods or loose seeds, either fresh or tinned, in supermarkets. They have a strong, distinctive and disagreeable odour and flavour, reminiscent of bad onions or garlic, and are said to make those who consume thrm smell also (Burkill I.c.; Heyne I.c.); they ai said to have a diuretic and relaxing effect. \ oung pods are also sometimes cooked as a vegetable, and young seeds may be eaten pickled, raw or cooked. Young leaves and the fleshy part of the receptacle are also reported as edible. The pods are reported as containing some edible pulp (e.g. Hunter I.c.; Burkill I.c.), but if so, the quantity is very much less than in the African P. biglobosa. The seeds are used medicinally against liver disease, diabetes, and worms.


1. The earliest reference to this species was Rumphius [], who mentioned the pungent tasting fruits of the pete tree.
2. The shape of the capitulum at anthesis varies due to the degree of development of the staminodial fringe, of which the diameter ranges from scarcely more than that of the nectar-sectreting region to almost twice its diameter. The pods are rather variable in size, shape, number per infructescence, and degree of twisting [see illustration in ].
3. Similarity to and confusion with P. timoriana are dealt with under that species.


Benth. 1875 – In: Trans. Linn. Soc.: 361
Koord. & Val. 1894 – In: Bijdr.: 276
Corner 1940: p. 415. – In: Wayside Trees: t.105 & 106, f. 137
Santisuk 1980: p. 175. – In: Vanasarn: f. 2
Burkill 1966: Diet., ed. 2: 1700
Merr. 1923 – In: Enum. Philipp. Fl. Pl.: 253
Backer & Bakh. f. 1963: Fl. Java: 564
Miq. 1855 – In: Fl. Ind. Bat.: 53
Heyne 1927: Nutt. Pl. Ned. Ind., ed. 2: 725
Nielsen & Santisuk 1985: p. 136. – In: Fl. Thailand: f. 32: 8, t. viii: 1 & 2
Whitm. 1972: p. 281. – In: Tree Fl. Malaya: t. 13
Cockb. 1976: p. 193. – In: Trees Sabah: f. 42