Adenanthera pavonina - L.
Common Name Red Sandalwood, Coral Tree
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The raw seeds are poisonous[303 ].
Habitats Deciduous forests at low elevations in both primary and secondary formations, sometimes in calcareous soils[200 , 418 ]. Locally common in many Pacific Islands along roadsides, dry open forest and disturbed areas from sea-level to lower montane[311 ].
Range E. Asia - China, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Solomon Isles.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Full sun

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Adenanthera pavonina, the Red Sandalwood or Coral Tree is cultivated for forage, as an ornamental garden plant or urban tree. It is a non-climbing species of leguminous tree useful for nitrogen fixation. It has many uses including food and drink, traditional medicine, timber, an ornamental garden plant/urban tree and as a shade tree. It has an attractive, spreading canopy. It flowers early spring to late summer fruiting in mid summer to autumn.

Adenanthera pavonina Red Sandalwood, Coral Tree
Adenanthera pavonina Red Sandalwood, Coral Tree
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Adenanthera pavonina is a deciduous Tree growing to 18 m (59ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant is not wind tolerant.

Adenanthera gersenii Scheff. Adenanthera polita Miq. Corallaria parvifolia Rumph.

Edible Uses
Edible parts: Seeds, Leaves, Vegetable. A Famine food. A minor edible leafy vegetable. Seed - raw or cooked[301 ]. They can be roasted, shelled and then eaten with rice[301 , 307 ]. The seeds are easily digested and are enjoyed by children and adults alike[303 ].The bright red seeds taste like soya beans and contain 25% oil plus 39% protein[301 ]. The seed may require boiling to neutralize toxicity[303 , 418 ]. Young leaves - cooked and used as a vegetable[301 , 303 , 418 ]. The flowers are also eaten.
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The plant is antibacterial and haemaglutinin[311 ]. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of rheumatism and gout[46 , 307 ]. The bark is used to treat leprosy[311 ]. A decoction of the bark and leaves is used to treat dysentery, diarrhoea and tonsillitis[303 ]. The wood is used as a tonic[46 ]. The pulverized wood, mixed with water, is taken orally for treating migraines and headaches[303 ]. In vitro studies suggest Adenanthera pavonina leaf extract has antibacterial activity against the intestinal pathogen Campylobacter jejuni. Also, high doses of seed extract have an anti-inflammatory effect in studies in rats and mice.


Other Uses
Planted as a shade and ornamental tree. Agroforestry Uses: The tree is a natural pioneer. With its fast rate of growth and ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, it can be used for land reclamation and to re-establish woodland[ 307 , 418 , K ]. The spreading crown of light, feathery foliage offers attractive shade and the tree is often planted for shade in coffee, clove and rubber plantations[ 303 ]. It is also planted along field borders as part of a windbreak[ 303 , 418 ]. The small leaves break down easily, making the species a good green manure303]. It is compatible with most tropical field and tree crops, making it suitable to use in integrated production systems. It is inter-planted among field and tree crops such as spices, coffee and coconuts[ 303 ]. It is often grown as a shade tree for coffee and nutmeg[ 200 ]. Other Uses The bark is rich in saponins and can be used as a soap for washing clothes etc[ 46 , 200 , 307 ]. Also used as a hair shampoo[ 46 ]. The plant is a source of dyestuffs[ 200 ]. A red dye is obtained from the shredded bark[ 307 ]. The dye has been used for dyeing clothes, and is used by the Hindus of India for the sacred mark placed on the forehead[ 303 , 459 ]. The red, glossy seeds are used as toys and for beads in necklaces and other ornaments[ 46 , 200 , 303 ]. They were formerly used to weigh gold, silver and diamonds, because they have a narrow range in weight[ 303 ]. Goldsmiths use the seeds in soldering[ 46 ]. The heartwood is bright yellow when fresh, turning red upon exposure to the air; it is sharply demarcated from the light grey sapwood, which can be up to 5 cm wide[ 303 ]. The wood is heavy, hard, strong, close-grained and durable[ 46 , 307 ]. It can be easy or somewhat difficult to work, easy to plane and it takes a high finish[ 303 ]. The heartwood is resistant to dry wood termites[ 303 ]. A valued timber in many countries, being used for cabinet making, construction, flooring, paving blocks, vehicle bodies and fine art[ 307 , 418 ]. Esteemed in the Pacific Islands for fuel wood, the wood burns readily, producing significant heat, and is used in both above- and below-ground ovens[ 303 ]. The wood yields very good charcoal[ 303 ].
Cultivation details
Agroforestry Services: Alley crop;  Agroforestry Services: Crop shade;  Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen;  Beans Toxic Raw;  Fodder: Pod;  Industrial Crop: Fiber;  Management: Coppice;  Management: Standard;  Regional Crop;  Staple Crop: Protein-oil.

A plant of the humid, lowland tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 400 metres[303 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 28°c, but can tolerate 12 - 36°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 3,000 - 5,000mm, but tolerates 2,000 - 6,000mm[418 ]. Prefers a sunny position, tolerating light shade[418 ]. Succeeds in any moderately fertile, moisture-retentive soil[200 ]. It is found in the wild on a variety of soils, from deep, well-drained to shallow and rocky[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 7, tolerating 4.5 - 7.5[418 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[307 ]. Requires a position sheltered from high winds[303 ]. Plants can become invasive in lowland regions[307 ]. Growth is initially slow but increases rapidly after the first year, during which average annual growth rates of 23 - 26mm in diameter and 200 - 230cm in height can be attained[303 ]. Trees planted 1 x 2 metres apart for windbreaks and at 2 x 2 metres in plantations can be thinned in 3 - 5 years to provide fuel wood and construction materials[303 ]. For shade trees, spacing varies from 5 to 10 metres, depending on the companion crop and site[303 ]. Trees resprout easily, allowing for coppice management with good survival[303 ]. The tree is susceptible to breakage in high winds, with most of the damage occurring in the crown[303 , 418 ]. The seeds are fairly uniform and were traditionally used as weights by apothecaries and goldsmiths - each seed weighing nearly 4grains (0.25g)[307 ]. 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[200 ].
Seed - the seedcoat is extremely hard and requires scarification, otherwise germination may take 12 months or more[303 ]. This is easiest to carry out by pre-soaking the seed for 12- 24 hours in warm water[K ]. Treated seed can give 100% germination in as little as 1 - 4 days, though 10 days is more usual[303 ]. The seed can be sown in situ, in nursery beds or in containers[200 , 303 ]. Young seedlings attain a height of 8 - 30 cm in approximately 3 months. Nodal cuttings in sand in a closed case[200 ]. The seed can be stored for several years in sealed containers at room temperature[303 ]. Propagation from large cuttings is reported to be successful in India[303 ].
Other Names
It has a number of other common names: Arbre À Église, Acacia Coral, Anikundumani, Bandi guruvenda, Barbados pride, Barricarri, Bead Tree, Coral Pea, Corail Végétale, Circassian bean, Coral Wood, Coralitos, Curly Bean, Deleite, Delicia, Dilmawi, False wiliwili, Graine-réglisse, Jumbi-Bead, L'Église, Haihongdou, Hua 'ula'ula, Kongquedou, Kunchandana, Laihere, Lera, Lopa, Ma klam ton, Madatiya, Maklam-tah-chang, Manchadi, Manjadi, Manjetti, Peacock flower fence, Peronías, Peonía, Peonía Extranjera, Phak lam, Rakta kambal, Red Lucky Seed, Red Sandalwood, Red Bead Tree, Réglisse, Saga hutan, Saga, Thorligunj, xiang si dou (mutual love bean).
Found In
Found In: Africa, Antigua-Barbuda, Arabia, Australia, Asia, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Chad, China, Congo, Cook Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Africa, East Timor, Fiji, French Guiana, Ghana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Jamaica, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Martinique, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, New Caledonia, Nigeria, Niue, North America, Pacific, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, Reunion, Samoa, Sao Tome & Principe, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South America, Southern Africa, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, Suriname, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Uganda, USA, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Africa.
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive in Florida, USA.[1c] Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Pacific Islands including American Samoa, Hawaii, French Polynesia, Micronesia and Australia. [1d]
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.
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Subject : Adenanthera pavonina  

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