Mysore Thorn (Caesalpinia decapetala )

Botanical Name: Caesalpinia decapetala
Family: Leguminosae
Genus : Caesalpinia
Synonyms: Caesalpinia sepiaria – Roxb.
Common names: Arrete-boeuf, bois sappan (French), caniroc, cat’s claw, kraaldoring (Afrikaans), kraaldoring, liane croc chien (English), Mauritius thorn (English), mauritiusdoring (Afrikaans), mubage, Mysore thorn (English), puakelekino (Hawaii), sappan (French-Reunion (La Réunion)), shoofly (English), thorny poinciana, ubobo-encane (Zulu), ufenisi (Zulu), ulozisi (Zulu-South Africa), wait-a-bit (English)


Habitat :
E. Asia – Himalayas to China.Hedges and open bushy places. Swampy localities and ravines to 1800 metres.Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge;

Description:
It  is a tropical tree species originating in India.

It is as a robust, thorny, evergreen shrub 2-4 m high or climber up to 10 m or higher; often forming dense thickets; the stems are covered with minute golden-hair; the stem thorns are straight to hooked, numerous, and not in regular rows or confined to nodes. The leaves are dark green, paler beneath, not glossy, up to 300 mm long; leaflets up to 8 mm wide. The flowers are pale yellow, in elongated, erect clusters 100-400 mm long. Fruits are brown, woody pods, flattened, unsegmented, smooth, sharply beaked at apex, ± 80 mm long.

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The medium-sized seeds may be dispersed by rodents and granivorous birds and running water. Trailing branches root where they touch the ground.

It has been introduced to Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawai‘i, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues, and South Africa. Is has become a seriously problematic invasive species in many locations.

In Hawai‘i, where it has the local name p?poki, it forms impenetrable brambles, climbs high up trees, closes off pastures to animals and impedes forest pathways

It is hardy to zone 8. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It can fix Nitrogen.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

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Similar Species: Caesalpinia scortechinii, Caesalpinia subtropica

Cultivation:
Requires a sunny position, succeeding in any moderately fertile well-drained soil[200] including limy soils. This species is on the borderline of hardiness in Britain. However, C. japonica, which is considered to be no more than a variety of this species by many botanists, succeeds on a wall at Wisley to the west of London and is said to be hardy to about -10°c. Its natural range is Japan where it grows at heights up to 2000 metres on rocky mountain slopes in the cooler regions of the country. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation
Seed – pre-soak for 12 – 24 hours in warm water and sow in a greenhouse in early spring. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Softwood cuttings in sand in a frame.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Antiperiodic; Astringent; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Laxative; Purgative.

Anthelmintic, antiperiodic, astringent, febrifuge. The leaves are emmenagogue and laxative.The bitter tasting stems and roots can be used medicinally. They are applied externally to burns. The root is purgative.

Other Uses

Hedge; Tannin; Wood.

The bark is a rich source of tannin. Plants are often grown as field boundaries in Nepal. An excellent hedge plant. However, due to its doubtful hardiness it is not a good candidate for this use in Britain. Wood – moderately hard.

Caesalpinia decapetala is used as a landscaping plant as a hedge or an ornamental in China and elsewhere.  Bark & other parts of the plant are useful in the chemical industry (Hao et al. 2004). The fruits and bark are rich in tannin. With an oil content of 35 percent, the seeds serve as a source of lubricant and soap (Hao et al. 2004).

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Caesalpinia+decapetala
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesalpinia_decapetala
http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?fr=1&si=510

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/229822/

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