Monday, 17 December 2012

Adenanthera pavonina

Adenanthera pavonina often known as Saga is native to South East Asia and is from the family Fabaceae.

The medium sized irregularly rounded crown legume tree reaches a maximum height of 25m. 

Leaves are bi-pinnate with 2-6 pairs of secondary stalks measuring from 10-40cm in length. Having a length of 1-4cm and a width of 0.7-2.5cm, individual leaflets are oblong, thin and pale green. There are 9-15 pairs of leaflet on each secondary stalk. The Saga tree is deciduous thus shedding leaves for brief periods every 6-8 months in Singapore, turning the leaves yellow before dropping off.

The flowers are small, 2mm long, star-shaped and mature from white to creamy yellow to dull orange. They are held in 7-15cm raceme inflorescences at tips of new shoots. Flowers open from bottom to top of the inflorescence and give a faint scent like orange blossoms. Tree blooms throughout year, having a peak in May.

The fruits of the saga are in the form of pods which are 15-20cm long. They start out thin, curved and green, but don't coil until they begin to split where they also turn blackish and woody to release 8-12 seeds.

Shiny scarlet red, hard, lens-shaped, with faint "heart line" around margin, the Saga seed is eaten and dispersed by birds. In India and Sri Lanka, the seeds have been used as units of weight for fine measures, gold for an instance.

Locally Saga seed were used as fill in a children's game of 'five-stones'. Powdered seeds are made into plasters to quicken the ripening of boils and to cure headaches and rheumatism. The wood is hard and reddish, which is known as red sandalwood used to build cabinets, furniture, wood ornaments and houses.

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