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Samanea saman - Rain Tree (Monkey Pod Tree)


Native to:



Southern Central America and northern South America.

Dry grassland and forest with low altitude. 25 meter tall tree, up to 1300 meters above sea level.

Samanea saman - Rain Tree (Monkey Pod Tree)

Ecological value:

Has a beneficial relationship with soil bacteria, providing nitrogen into surrounding habitat. Tolerates waterlogged and infertile soils. Can become invasive. Slow growth first year, otherwise fast growing. Coppices well. Attracts pollinators.

Material uses:

Source of timber. Bark a source for gums and resins. Pods yield 1,150 liters of alcohol per year per hectare. Wood is light, soft, durable, and strong - shrinks slightly making it a good material for crafts, furniture, veneers, plywood and other products. Durable against rot and termites. Fuel wood.

Edible uses:

Pods have sweet flavor. Used to make fruit drink. Shade tree for tea, coffee and vanilla.

Medicinal use:

Bark and leaves used as a treatment for diarrhea, stomach-ache, skin problems, and sore throat.

Other details:

Attractive pink flowers. A mature tree can absorb 18.5 tons of CO2 annually. Yields up to 275 kg of seed pods annually from 15 years old and up. The tree can fold up/unfold its leaves to provide moisture for other plants under its canopy. At night/overcast days, branches hang low, resuming normal position in morning.


Emilyn Chang/Christine Facella


“Samanea Saman (Jacq.) Merr. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 16, 2023.
“Samanea Saman - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d.
Barwick. M., ‘Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide’, Thames & Hudson, London, 2004
Image sources: Primejyothi, Alejandro Bayer Tamayo.

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