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Monday, 21 October 2013

Leucaena leucocephala or Lead Tree

Leucaena leucocephala or Guage (Mexico); wild tamarind (Corozal, Belize); lead tree (Florida); lamtoro (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea); ipil ipil (Philippines); jumby bean (Bahamas); false koa, koa haole (Hawaii); tangantangan, tangan tangan, talantayan (Guam, Marshall Islands); talntangan, ganitnityuwan tangantan (Yap); tuhngantuhngan, rohbohtin (Kosrae); telentund (Palau); lopa samoa (American Samoa); fua pepe (American Samoa and Samoa); lusina (Samoa); pepe (Niue and Samoa); nito (Cook Islands); siale mohemohe (Tonga); subabul (India); vaivai (Fiji); cassis (Vanuatu); te kaitetua (Kiribati); kay keo dâu (Vietnam), is a kind of shrub of the legume tribes (Leguminosae, legumes), which is often used in reforestation or erosion prevention. Originated from tropical America, this plant has introduced hundreds of years to Southeast Asia.

In Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia's fruit (locally called Leucaena) used as food and herbal medicines, although in limited quantities. The main use of this tree is for reforestation of degraded land and the wood used for firewood.

Characteristic of the tree:

This tree likes warm tropical climate (daily temperature of 25-30 ° C); altitudes above 1000 m asl may inhibit growth. This plant is fairly drought-tolerant and can be planted everywhere, including in areas with rainfall between 650-3000 mm (optimal 800-1500 mm) per year. However, these plants can not grow in standing water.

Can be grown in any soil condition, easy to adapt to the local climate, easily propagated by seeds that are old, stem cuttings, and with the removal of saplings. Because it is easy to grow, in many places often become rampant weeds. This plant was easy to grow; once pruned, felled or burned, bud-shoots will grow back in large quantities.

Trees or tall shrubs to 20 m; although most only about 2-10 m. Low and much branched, with brownish or grayish, nodule and have lenticels. Branches round the piston, with the tip of the hair tightly.

The leaves are compound and pinnate shaped copies, numbered 3-10 pairs of fins, mostly with glands on the leaf axis, just before the base of the bottom fin; the leaves fulcrum is small, triangular shape. Leaflets 5-20 pairs of each fin, face, the shape is elongated line, 6-16 mm × 1-2 mm, with a pointed tip and base is sloping (not equal), its surface is smooth-haired and frayed edges. The Leaves are bloom at night and closes its leaves at noon.

The flowers are compound form of long-stemmed excrescence, which gathered in panicles contain 2-6 excrescence; each nodule composed of 100-180 flowers, forming white or yellowish balls 12-21 mm in diameter, on top of the stalk 2-5 cm long. Flowers small, amounted respectively-5 for each; petal tube toothed short bell shape, about 3 mm, crown shape, lk. 5 mm, loose-loose. Stamen 10 strands, about 1 cm, separated.

Ribbon-shaped fruit pods straight, flat, and thin, 14-26 cm × 2 cm, with the boundaries between the grains. Green colors of the outer skin and finally greenish brown or dark brown when dry and when ripe the skin covering the seeds will break itself. Each pod contains 15-30 pieces of Leucaena leucocephala seed that lies crosswise in legumes, egg-shaped round eggs breech or upside down, with shiny dark brown color measuring 6-10 mm × 3 to 4.5 mm. The seeds resemble petai fruit, but smaller.


Leaves, flower buds and young pods ordinary engulfed in raw or cooked first. In some parts of Indonesia, the seeds are roasted as a coffee substitute parents, with aroma of coffee tougher. The seeds are already quite old, but not blackened, used as a kind of mixture of local salad there. Young fruit can also be used as a vegetable. The seeds can also be processed into soy substitute with soy nutrition are almost equal. The leaves are also often used as mulch and green manure, the leaves of this tree is decomposed quickly in soil.

The trunk is highly preferred as a wood fire, because it has a calorific value of 19,250 kJ / kg, with a slow burn and produce less smoke and ash. Wood charcoal is very good quality, with a calorific value of 48,400 kJ / kg. Solid wood is included for quickly growing tree size (density of 500-600 kg / m³) and wet wood moisture content between 30-50%, depending on age. The wood is fairly easily drained with good results, and easily processed. Unfortunately, that rarely has a big trunk size; boles are generally short and many knots, because this tree was much branching. The wood is reddish or golden brown, medium textured, hard enough and strong as wood furnishings, furniture, poles or floor coverings.

The leaves and young twigs of this tree utilized as an animal feed and a good source of protein, especially for ruminants. The leaves have a level of 60 to 70% digestion in ruminants, the highest among the types of legumes and other tropical forage

Scientific classification:
  • Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)
  •       Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (Vascular Plants)
  •           Super Division: Spermatophyta (Produces seeds)
  •               Division: Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)
  •                   Class: Magnoliopsida (dashed two / dicots)
  •                       Sub Class: Rosidae
  •                           Order: Fabales
  •                               Family: Fabaceae (legumes tribe)
  •                                   Genus: Leucaena
  •                                       Species: Leucaena leucocephala