Herbs & Plants

Barringtonia procera

Botanical Name: Barringtonia procera
Family: Lecythidaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Genus: Barringtonia

*Huttum Adans., rejected name
*Commercona Sonn.
*Menichea Sonn.
*Butonica Lam.
*Stravadium Juss.
*Meteorus Lour.

Common Names: Pao nuts, Cut nut

Other Names: Aikenu, Alingasa, Fala, Falanganoa,Fara, Hala, Hara, Katnat, Kenu, Kino, Kinu, Manavasa, Navele, Nofe, Nuwa, Nyia, Oneve, Tamalivi, Tinge, Tinghe, Tuhala fara, Vele

Habitat:Barringtonia procera is native to Africa, southern Asia, Australia, and various islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It grows in the secondary rainforests at low elevations. Usually associated with human activity, in old gardens, mature coconut plantations, and coastal villages, and in remnants of secondary lowland rainforests.

Barringtonia procera is a medium-size fast growing, evergreen tree up to 24 m high but often range between 8-12 m with a crown diameter of 0.8–6 m and mature tree dbh of 2-45 cm. The tree produces a vigorous framework of branches following the formation of the terminal inflorescences.

Leaves are large, simple, lanceolate and arranged in a whorl at each node. Leaf size varies, typically measuring 21.5–66 cm long and 5–20 cm wide.
The upper surface of the leaf is dark green and glossy; the lower surface is slightly paler. Typically, the leaf has a truncated base and an
acuminated apex, with undulated margins.

Inflorescence racemose with a 30–110 cm long pendulous spike containing up to 150 densely packed flower buds, arranged in spirally alternate pattern, and varying in colors, typically from green to white or red. Flowering is terminal on the shoots. Flower buds are semisessile to
sessile and are protected by a calyx closed in the bud, which ruptures into two to four pseudolobes.

Fruits are multiple, sessile, elongated, oblong to obovoid, tapering toward the apex and base, and borne on a pendulous rachis. At maturity they are indehiscent, but the skin can be easily peeled off when ripe. Length of a mature fruit varies between 25–95 mm.

Seed or kernel is contained in a fibrous, white to purplish, cylindrical, eightsided endocarp shell (prominent when exocarp and mesocarp are removed).
Bark is smooth at early stages of growth but becomes fissured as the trees grow older. Large lenticels up to 5 mm across are present.
The tree has a relatively shallow taproot and a well formed network of lateral roots, concentrated in the topsoil layer.


Barringtonia procera is a plant of lowland wet tropical, moist topical and wet subtropical climatic zones, it can be found at elevations up to 600 metres. The plant grows in areas where the mean annual temperature is around 27c, with the hottest moth around 29 – 34c and the coolest 20 – 23c. It cannot tolerate even light frosts. The mean annual rainfall is within the range 1,500 – 4,300mm, usually with a year-round distribution, sometimes with a short dry season. Prefers a position in partial shade, though it can tolerate full sun. It grows in moderate to highly fertile, coastal coral soils with light to heavy textures, tolerating rocky, shallow, saline and infertile soils The tree grows well in coastal soils high in pH (up to 8.5), but it does not tolerate waterlogged soils. It has medium to high tolerance of steady and strong winds including cyclones. Branches and twigs do not easily snap, but they may be broken off by strong winds. The trees rarely suffer from windthrow due to their height, open canopy structure, and good lateral rooting system. Generally, the tree grows moderately quickly, but this varies significantly depending upon trees and growth conditions. The mean annual increment (MAI) for height of trees up to 5 years is 62cm; thereafter the MAI increased to about 1 metre annually for the next 5 years. Thirty-year-old trees had an average MAI of about 1.4 metres. Diameter at breast height appears to be relatively uniform with age. Trees aged 5, 10 , 15 , and 20 years old have all attained an MAI for diameter at breast height on the order of 14 – 16cm. Trees begin flowering as early as 1.5 years (dwarf variety), although the average is probably 3 years. The tree can flower and produce fruit all year round. Annual yields of the seeds is estimated at 1.5 – 7 kilos per tree. By the age of 20 years trees can yield 370 – 550 kilos of seeds per hectare. Trees coppice and pollard well, with young leafy shoots regrowing rapidly following cutting. Stumps as short as 10cm coppice well.

Propagation: Through seeds – best sown as soon as it is ripe.

Edible uses: Seed and young leaves are edible. The seed kernel inside the hard shell inside the fruit is about 30mm by 15 – 20mm wide. Young leaves – cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is used in the treatment of stomach ailments and gonorrhoea. Sap from the bark has been used for treating ciguatera poisoning, coughs, and urinary infections. The leaves are used to treat inflammation of the ear and headaches.

Other Uses:
The tree prefers light shade, which makes it a good companion to overstorey tree species such as vi (Spondias cyathera), canarium nut (Canarium spp.), and breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis). Its open canopy structure allows sufficient light penetration to the ground level for other crops such as roots, cereals and other understorey crops such as sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) and a nutritious native leafy tree spinach called bele or edible hibiscus (Abelmoschus manihot), to be interplanted under it. It has been used as a trellis tree for the cash crop betel leaf (Piper betle),as well as for marking land boundaries and creating windbreaks. The tree has a well formed lateral root system, yet does not appear to cause major impediments during soil preparation for understory crops, e.g., making mounds for the root crops, nor does it seem to compete heavily with understory crops. It can be used in plantations to provide shade for tree crops such as cacao (Theobroma cacao), joint fir (Gnetum gnemon), and betel nut (Areca catechu). The wood is light in weight. It is used for canoe paddles, casing, light construction. The wood is used as a quick-burning firewood.

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


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