Adenanthera pavonina

Adenanthera pavonina L.

Family       : Fabaceae

Common Name : മഞ്ചാടി (Mal)

: रक्तचंदन (Hin)

: Red bead tree (Eng)

IUCN Status : Least concern (LC)-

Red Bead Tree is a timber tree. This plant is found in the wild in India. Leaves are compound bipinnate, green when young, turning yellow when old. The small, yellowish flower grows in dense drooping rat-tail flower heads, almost like cat-tail flower-heads. Fruits are curved, hanging, green pods that turn brown, coil up and split open as they ripen to reveal small bright red seeds.These attractive seeds have been used as beads in jewellery, leis and rosaries. They were also used in ancient India for weighing gold. The seeds are curiously similar in weight. Four seeds make up about one gramme. Children love the hard red seeds and few can resist collecting the brightly coloured seeds usually littered under the tree. The young leaves can be cooked and eaten. the wood is extremely hard and used in boat-building and making furniture. 

Deciduous trees; to 20 m high; bark grey to reddish-brown, smooth. Leaves bipinnate, alternate; rachis 15-60 cm long, pulvinate, with gland at the tip; pinnae 2-3 pairs, 2-40 cm, opposite, even pinnate; leaflets 8-20, alternate, 1.3-8 x 0.8-4 cm, oblong, oblong-elliptic, base slightly oblique, apex round or emarginated, mucronate, puberulent above and glaucous beneath; petiolule up to 3 mm long; lateral nerves 9-10 pairs, parallel, slender, obscure, intercostae reticulate, faint. Flowers pale yellow, 6 mm across, clustered in axillary spiciform racemes; bracts to 5 mm, linear, bracteole to 1 mm, pedicel to 3 mm. Calyx tube campanulate, 1 mm, 5 toothed, pubescent. Petals 5, connate below, linear-lanceolate, to 4 mm long. Stamens 10, free, filaments alternately long and short; anthers terminating in a stipitate gland. Ovary subsessile; style 2 mm, filiform; stigma simple. Pod 10-25 x 0.7-1.5 cm, straight to falcate to slightly twisted, spirally coiled after dehiscence, thin, septate within, tapered at base, apex acute, glabrous; seeds to 15, red, smooth, shining, 8-10 x 7-9 mm, ellipsoid-orbicular.

Use: A red powder made from the wood is also used as an antiseptic paste. In Ancient Indian medicine, the ground seeds are used to treat boils and inflammations. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat gout and rheumatism. The bark was used to wash hair.


Distribution : Tropical Asia to N. Australia; introduced to parts of Tropical America and Africa

Flowering & Fruiting : January-September