Falcataria moluccana (Miq.) Barneby & J.W.Grimes, Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 74(1):255 (1996)

Species name meaning 'from the Moluccas'.

Adenanthera falcata L.
Adenanthera falcataria L.
Adenanthera falcatoria L. [Spelling variant]
Albizia eymae Fosberg
Albizia falcata sensu auct.
Albizia falcata (L.) Backer [Spelling variant]
Albizia falcata (L.) Backer ex Merr.
Albizia falcataria (L.) Fosberg
Albizia falcatoria (L.) Fosberg [Spelling variant]
Albizia fulva Lane-Poole
Albizia fulva C.T. White & Francis
Albizia moluccana Miq.
Paraserianthes falcataria (L.) I.C.Nielsen
Paraserianthes falcataria subsp. falcataria
Paraserianthes falcataria subsp. fulva (Lane-Poole) I.C.Nielsen
Paraserianthes falcatoria (L.) I.C.Nielsen [Spelling variant]

Large, fast growing trees. Stipules present, but dropped early. Leaves alternate, bipinnate compound, up to 40 cm long, with glands on the rachis, each pinnae with many small leaflets (up to 25). Flowers in panicles, consisting of many long stamens, white-pinkish. Fruit a papery straight pod up to ca. 11 cm long, narrowly winged along the suture, opening on both sides, with many green, up to 7 mm diameter flat seeds.

A medium-sized to fairly large, unarmed tree up to 40 m tall, bole straight and cylindrical in dense stands, branchless for up to 20 m and up to 100 cm or sometimes more in diameter; bark surface white, grey or greenish, smooth or slightly warty, sometimes shallowly fissured and with longitudinal rows of lenticels, inner bark white, yellowish, pink or pale red-brown, fibrous; young parts often densely tomentose. Leaves alternate, bipinnate, up to 40 cm long, with (4-)8-15 pairs of pinnae, each pinna with (8-)15-25 leaflets, rachis and pinnae with extrafloral nectaries; stipules linear or filiform, caducous, 3-5 mm x 0.5-1 mm; petiole 2-8 cm long, with a raised gland in the distal half; leaflets oblong-falcate, 6-15 mm x (2-)3-6 mm, sessile, densely appressed puberulous. Inflorescence a paniculate raceme, up to 30 cm long; flowers bisexual, 5-merous, subtended by bracts; calyx valvate, tubular to cup- or bell-shaped, 1.5-3 mm long; corolla valvate, funnel- or bell-shaped, 4-6.5 mm long, creamy to yellowish, sericeous all over; stamens numerous, 10-15 mm long, white, filaments fused into a 3.5 mm long tube at base, anthers quadrangular, minute; ovary solitary, glabrous. Fruit a chartaceous, flat, straight pod, 7.5-10.5 cm x 1.3-1.7 cm, narrowly winged along the ventral suture, dehiscent along both sutures, puberulous, usually glabrescent, many-seeded. Seed oblongoid, flat, 6-7.5 mm x 3-4 mm, olive-green, with oblong areole about 5 mm long. [from PROSEA]

As a pioneer species, it occurs in primary but more characteristically in secondary lowland rain forest, and also in light montane forest, grassy plains and along roadsides near the sea. It is adapted to per-humid and monsoonal climates with a dry season of up to 2(-4) months and an annual rainfall ranging from 2000-4000 mm, averaging 2800 mm. In its natural habitat it occurs from 0-2300 m altitude. The optimum temperature range is 22-29 degrees C, with mean minimum temperatures of the coldest month of 22-24 degrees C and mean maximum temperatures of the hottest month of 30-34 degrees C. It is found on well-drained sandy and lateritic soils. In natural stands in Irian Jaya it is associated with e.g. Agathis labillardieri Warb., Celtis spp., Diospyros spp., Pterocarpus indicus Willd., Terminalia spp., and Toona sureni (Blume) Merrill. When planted, it can grow on comparatively poor sites and survive without application of fertilizers. However, it does not thrive in poorly drained, flooded or waterlogged soils. It is sensitive to fire and easily damaged by strong wind. [from PROSEA] It is an invasive, nitrogen-fixing tree species. It is has been introduced to the Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion and many Pacific islands; including, most notably, Hawaii where it has become a problematic invader. Its rapid growth habit allows it to outcompete slow-growing native trees, and its abundant, high-quality litter alters nutrient dynamics in the soil. This affects decomposition rates and microorganism and invertebrate community composition. Ecosystem processes may be altered in both terrestrial and aquatic environments where it invades riparian areas. [from Global Invasive Species Database]

Planted extensively for reforestation and afforestation of denuded and eroding land. Because it is very fast-growing, the wood is widely used for fuelwood and charcoal production in spite of its low density and energy value. It is an important shade tree for tea and other crops, its fast growth and good shading properties outweighing its sensitivity to strong winds and its relatively short life. It is being tested in alley-cropping systems, although its tolerance of coppicing is limited. It is a major source of paper pulp and has been used for the manufacture of viscose rayon. The comparatively soft timber, called 'batai' in trade, is suitable for general utility purposes such as light construction, furniture and cabinet work, lightweight packing materials and pallets. It is a well-known source for match wood. Because the wood is fairly easy to cut, batai is also suitable for wooden shoes, musical instruments, toys and novelties, forms and general turnery. Batai is an important source of lightweight veneer and plywood and is very suitable for the manufacture of particle board, wood-wool board and hardboard, and has recently also been used for blockboard. The bark yields a gum, has tanning properties, and it is also used for packing. The leaves are fed to poultry, goats and sheep. It is also planted as an ornamental. [from PROSEA]

Native to the Moluccas, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago including the Admirality Islands and the Solomon Islands. It is widely planted throughout the humid tropics.

Local names
Brunei: puah.
English: batai (trade name), Peacock's plume.
Indonesia: jeungjing (Sundanese), sengon laut (Javanese), sikat (Banda).
Malaysia: batai (Peninsular, Sabah), kayu machis (Sarawak).
Papua New Guinea: white albizia.
Philippines: Moluccan sau, falcata.