Adenanthera malayana Kosterm., Ceylon J. Sci., Biol. Sci. 12 (2): 130 (1977)

Species name meaning 'from Malaysia or the Malesian region'.


Tree to 45 m high, 250 cm girth, sometimes with buttresses to 1.2 by 0.6 m. Bark smooth or smooth-rugose with adherent thin strips; brown to grey-brown; slashwood cream, pale-yellow, or yellowish brown. Young branches puberulous to densely puberulous, glandular hairs present. Stipules not seen. Leaves: rachis 5.5-12 cm, slightly laterally compressed, sulcate, puberulous to densely puberulous; pinnae 2 or 3 pairs, (3-)4.5-12 cm, angular, puberulous to densely puberulous; petiolule 1-2 mm long, patently puberulous to setose; leaflets (2-)3-5 on each side of the pinna, rigidly chartaceous, drying dull leadgrey to brown above and darker brown beneath, very often slightly unequal-sided, (elliptic-)ovate to elliptic-suborbicular, 1.8-5(-8) by l-4(-5) cm, base slightly asymmetrically cuneate, apex acuterounded or very broadly rounded and emarginate, mucronulate, upper surface glabrous, lower appressed puberulous, indumentum patent along proximal part of main vein; principal lateral veins 8-10 per leaflet-half, oblique, straight, parallel, anastomosing at about 1/4 of the width of the leaflet. Raceme c. 8-15 cm long, rachis green, puberulous to densely puberulous, pedicel 1 mm long, puberulous. Calyx yellowish, broadly cup-shaped, 0.5-0.8 mm, puberulous; teeth triangular, acute 0.2-0.3 mm. Petals whitish, turning yellow, elliptic, acute, 2.5-3 mm, glabrous. Stamens whitish, turning yellow, 3.5-4.5 mm; anthers 0.5 mm. Ovary 1.5-2 mm, with scattered appressed hairs; style 1.5-2 mm. Pod purplish black outside, contorted into a spiral prior to dehiscence, c. 8-15 cm long; valves 1.5-1.7 cm wide, gradually narrowing into the inconspicuous stalk, c. 3 mm long. Seeds c. 10, glossy red and black, obovoid, ellipsoid, or orbicular, biconvex, 6.5-8 by 6.7-7 by 4-4.5 mm, distal black spot c. 5-6 mm wide and 2 mm high; pleurogram 5- 5.5 by 5-6 mm, continuous between the two faces. [from Flora Malesiana]

Primary and secondary rain forest. Can develop into a canopy tree; crown with bright pale green foliage, spreading, flat and diffuse. Recorded from rocky and from sandy soil, but also in peat swamps; altitude sea-level up to 900 m.

Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo (in Borneo represented by a different subspecies).

Frequently planted in villages and at roadsides.

Local names