Adenanthera pavonina L., Sp. Pl. (1753)

Latin for 'the eyes of the peacock', referring to the seeds.

Synonyms
Adenanthera gersenii Scheff.
Adenanthera polita Miq.
Corallaria parvifolia Rumph.

Description
Small to medium-sized tree, up to 59m tall and 117 cm in diameter; Crown rather uneven, rounded with dark green foliage; in open associations often a shrub or tree with spreading branches; in inland rainforest it may grow into a large, single-boled tree, rarely with buttresses. Bark brown or brownish grey, slightly peeling to flaking. Wood moderately hard and heavy, white or straw-coloured branchlets glabrous (rarely puberulous); stipules filiform, 0.5 mm, puberulous, caducous. Leaves: rachis (15-)20-55 cm, adaxially sulcate, glabrous, pinnae (2-)3-6 pairs, (6.5-)8-20 cm, glabrous or puberulous adaxially; petiolules 1.5-2 mm, glabrous; leaflets 4-9(-ll) on each side of the pinnae, thinly chartaceous, drying light brown to dull grey-green above and light grey-green beneath, elliptic to ovate or obovateelliptic, 1.5-4.5 by 1-2.2 cm; basiscopic part of base broadly cuneate, acroscopic part truncate to rounded, apex rounded to truncate, often mucronulate; upper surface glabrous with indistinct veins, lower surface appressed puberulous, with 8-10 veins per leaflet-half, straight, parallel, anastomosing, prominulous. Racemes (incl. peduncle) 12-30 cm, glabrous or slightly puberulous, often with a few scattered glandular hairs; bracts lanceolate, 0.5 mm, puberulous; pedicels 2.5-6 mm, glabrous or sparsely appressed puberulous. Flowers white to yellowish, turning dark yellow after anthesis, strongly fragrant. Calyx 0.8-1 mm, subrolate to broadly cupshaped, glabrous or sparsely appressed puberulous; teeth inconspicuous or rounded, c. 0.2 mm. 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. Pod brown, linear-falcate, 25 by 1.3-1.8 cm, usually straight prior to dehiscence, contorted to spirally twisted after dehiscence, with up to 25 seeds. Seeds unifoniily bright scarlet-red, ellipsoid, suborbicular or obovoid, (7-)8-9 by 7-9.5 mm. up to 6.5 mm thick, convex; pleurogram c. 1-1.5 mm from and parallel to the margin, open towards the hilum. [from Flora Malesiana]

Ecology
In undisturbed to disturbed seasonal to everwet mixed dipterocarp and keranga forests up to 600 m altitude. Often along or near rivers, but also common on hillsides. On sandy to clay soils. Also often found near the sea.

Uses
Often planted as an ornamental tree. Wood locally used for indoor construction. A red dye can be extracted from the heartwood which is used (in India) for the forehead spot by Bhramins. Young leaves used as vegetables. Seeds used for necklaces and rosaries.

Distribution
Originally probably from eastern Malesia and west Pacific, but currently throughout tropical Asia, from Sri Lanka and India to New Guinea, Australia and west Pacific. Probably introduced into western Malesia and India for the seeds and red dye that can be extracted from the wood.

Local names
Borneo: Saga (Borneo).
China: Haihongdou, Kongquedou.