Botanical Name :Samanea saman
Species: A. saman
Unlike some other Ingeae, its taxonomy was always rather straightforward. Though it has a lot of junior synonyms, it was little confused with other species and unlike some others of its genus has just one homonym:
*Acacia propinqua A.Rich.
*Acacia propinqua Pedley is a synonym of Acacia mimula
*Albizzia saman (Jacq.) Merr. (orth.var)
*Calliandra saman (Jacq.) Griseb.
*Enterolobium sama (Jacq.) Prain
*Feuilleea saman (Jacq.) Kuntze
*Inga cinerea Willd.
*Inga salutaris Kunth
*Inga saman (Jacq.) Willd.
*Mimosa pubifera Poir.
*Mimosa saman Jacq.
*Pithecellobium cinereum Benth.
*Pithecellobium saman (Jacq.) Benth.
*Pithecellobium saman var. saman (Jacq.) Benth.
*Pithecolobium saman (Jacq.) Benth.
*Samanea saman (Jacq.) Merr.
*Zygia saman (Jacq.) A.Lyons
Albizia saman is a well-known tree, rivalled perhaps only by Lebbeck and Pink Siris among its genus. It is well-attested in many languages and has numerous local names in its native range. Most names that originated in Europe (where the tree hardly grows at all) are some variety of “Rain Tree”. The original name, Saman – known in many languages and used for the specific name – derives from zamang, meaning “Mimosoideae tree” in some Cariban languages of northern Venezuela.
The name Rain Tree was coined in tropical India, especially Bengal. Its origin is the moisture that collects on the ground under the tree, largely the honeydew-like discharge of cicadas feeding on the leaves.
*English: Saman, Rain Tree, Monkey Pod, Giant Thibet, Inga Saman, Cow Tamarind, East Indian Walnut.
*Grenada: Coco Tamarind. Guyana: French Tamarind
*Spanish: cenízaro, acacia preta, árbol de lluvia (“rain tree”), genízaro.
*Cuba: algarrobo. Central America: carreto, cenicero, dormilon, zarza. Colombia and Venezuela: campano, saman. Venezuela: carabeli, couji, lara, urero, zaman.
*German: Regenbaum (“rain tree”)
*Telugu: Nidra Ganneru
*Tamil: Thoongu moonji maram (“Tree with a sleeping face”)
*French: arbre à (la) pluie (“rain tree”)
*Haitian Creole: guannegoul(e)
*Hindi: Vilaiti Siris
*Bengali:Belati Siris or Shirish
*Kannada: Bhagaya mara
*Jamaica: goango, guango
*Khmer ampil barang (“French tamarind”)
*Malagasy: bonara(mbaza), kily vazaha, madiromany, mampihe, mampohehy
*Malay/Indonesian: Pukul Lima (“5 o’clock tree”, in Malaysia), ki hujan (“rain tree”)
*Sundanese: ki hujan (“rain tree”)
*Vietnamese: cây m?a (rain tree)
*Thai: dsha:m-dshu-ri: Jamjuree
In the Caribbean region, it is occasionally called marsave. As an introduced plant on Fiji, it is called vaivai (ni vavalagi), from vaivai “watery” (in allusion to the tree’s “rain”) + vavalagi “foreign”.
Habitat : Native to the Neotropics. Its range extends from Mexico south to Peru and Brazil, but it has been widely introduced to South and Southeast Asia, as well as the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. . It is often placed in the genus Samanea, which by yet other authors is subsumed in Albizia entirely.
Large umbraculiform tree to as much as 60 m tall, the crown to 80 m broad, covering 1/5 hectare, trunk to 1.5 m DBH, unarmed, with gray rough furrowed bark. Leaves alternate, evergreen, bipinnate, 25–40 cm long, with 2–6 pairs of pinnae, each of which bears 6–16 paired stalkless leaflets, with a glandular dot between each pair. Flower heads clustered near the end of twigs, each cluster on a green hairy stalk 7–10 cm long, with many small tubular pinkish-green flowers, calyx and corolla 5-toothed. The many stamen united to form a tube near their bases, seed pods oblong, flat, arcuate, black, 20–30 cm long, with a raised border, each with several oblong reddish-brown seeds ca one cm long. The leaves fold in rainy weather and in the evening, hence the name Rain Tree and 5 o’clock Tree.Several lineages of this tree are available e.g. with reddish pink and creamish golden colored flowers.
Click to see more pictures of Samanea saman
Easily propagated from seeds and cuttings. Young specimens transplant easily.
Per 100 g, the green leaf is reported to contain 47.8 g H2O, 10.2 g protein, 2.1 g fat, 22.2 g insoluble carbohydrate, 15.7 g fiber, and 2.0 g ash. On an oven-dry basis, the leaves contain ca 3.2% N. Gohl, 1981 tabulates as follows: As % of dry matter
Folk Medicine :
According to Hartwell (1967–1971), the root decoction is used in hot baths for stomach cancer in Venezuela. Rain tree is a folk remedy for colds, diarrhea, headache, intestinal ailments, and stomachache (Duke and Wain, 1981). The alcholic extract of the leaves inhibits Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Perry, 1980). The alkaloid fraction of the leaves is effective on the CNS and PNS. In Colombia, the fruit decoction is used as a CNS-sedative. The leaf infusion is used as a laxative (Garcia-Barriga, 1975). In the West Indies, seeds are chewed for sore throat (Ayensu, 1981).
With a checkerd nomenclature, under Enterolobium in the Wealth of India, Pithecellobium in Common Trees of Puerto Rico, and Samanea in Woody Plants of Ghana, the rain tree is apparently widely traveled. Perhaps one of its most important uses in Latin America is as a shade tree, especially in parks, pastures, and roadsides. Improved growth, nutritive quality, protein content, and yield have been demonstrated by Axonopus compressus, a tropical forage grass, grown under Samanea. “The benefit by association was presumptively attributed to nitrogen made available in the soil by excretion or decomposition of the leguminous nodules.” (Allen and Allen, 1981). The tree house in Walt Disney’s “Swiss Family Robinson” was built in a rain tree 60 m tall with a canopy 80 m in diameter. Simon Bolivar is said to have encamped his entire liberation army under the “saman de guerra” near Maracay, Venezuela. In Malagasy, it is grown as shade tree for cacao, coffee, patchouly, and vanilla. In Indonesia, it is recommended for nutmeg but not for tea. In Uganda, it is considered good for coffee, bad for tea. According to NAS (1980a), “Grass grows right up to the trunk because this species’ leaflets fold together at night and in wet weather, allowing the rain to fall through.” Like Acacia, Ceratonia, Prosopis, and Tamarindus, this produces copious pods with a sweet pulp, attractive to children and animals alike. Pods can be ground up and converted to fodder or for that matter alcohol as an energy source. A lemon-like beverage can be made from the pulp. The wood is soft, lightweight (spec. grav. 0.44; 720–880 kg/m3) of medium to coarse texture, fairly strong, takes a beautiful finish but is often cross-grained and difficult to work. It is used for furniture, general construction, and interior trim, for boxes and crates, panelling, plywood, and veneer. Central American oxcart wheels are made from cross sections of trunks. It is used for boat building in Hawaii, where it is also famous for making “monkeypod” bowls. Shavings from the wood are used for making hats in the Philippines. The tree yields a gum of inferior quality which could be used as a poor man’s substitute for gum arabic. Like most other mimosaceous trees, this is an important honey plant. Rain tree is one host of the lac insect, which, however, produces a poor quality lac, reddish and rather brittle (C.S.I.R., 1948–1976).
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.