Adenanthera pavonina

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Adenanthera pavonina


Small to medium-sized tree, c. 25-40 m high and 45 cm in diameter; Leaves: Flowers white to yellowish, turning dark yellow after an- thesis. Petals 3-5 mm, oblong, acute, glabrous or sparsely appressed puberulous. Stamens 3.8-5.5 mm. Ovary 2.5-3 mm, glabrous or with a few scattered hairs only, style 2-2.5 mm, about as long as the ovary. Seeds uniformly bright scarlet-red, ellipsoid, suborbicular or obovoid, (7-)8-9 by 7-9.5 mm, up to 6.5 mm thick, convex;


Ambon, Asia-Tropical: Lesser Sunda Is.; Maluku (Maluku); New Guinea; Philippines (Philippines cultivated); Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka present); Sulawesi (Sulawesi), Greater Sunda Islands, Melanesia present, Moro- tai, coastal non-mangrove communities from the Malay Peninsula, tropical Asia present
Throughout tropical Asia from Sri Lanka (type) to Melanesia. In Malesia widely cultivated, but seems to be spontaneous in coastal non-mangrove communities from the Malay Peninsula (Corner 1940), Greater Sunda Islands, Celebes, Lesser Sunda Islands through the Moluccas (Moro- tai, Ambon) to New Guinea; in the Philippines only known from cultivation.


Widely cultivated as ornamental because of the glossy red seeds that are used for necklaces. Young leaves used as a vegetable. Shade tree. The wood is sometimes used for indoor constructions.


The original distribution of this species in Asia is unknown. It is probably indigenous in E Malesia to Melanesia, where it is found as an integrated part of the primary forest. Probably because of the red seeds it has been introduced to India in prehistoric times and there a red dye is prepared from the heartwood, used for the forehead spot of the Brahmins. Introduced in all tropical areas, the seeds being used in rosaries and necklaces.
Specimens from Celebes tend to have narrowly elliptic, obtuse leaflets.


L. 1992: p. 110. – In: Nordic J. Bot. f. 15
Verdc. 1979: Manual New Guin. Legum. p 138
Meijer 1974: Field Guide Tr. W. Mai. p 177
Backer & Bakh. f. 1963 – In: Fl. Java. p 563
Whitm. 1972 – In: Tree Fl. Mai. p 276
Nielsen 1981: p. 14. – In: Fl. Camb. Laos Vietnam. pl. 1: 7-12
Cockburn 1976 – In: Trees Sabah. p 184
L. 1985: p. 139. – In: Fl. Thailand. f. 32: 10-14
Scheffer 1870 – In: Nat. Tijd. Ned. Ind. 18, 357
Corner 1940 – In: Wayside Tr. p 407