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Useful Tropical Plants

Caesalpinia spinosa

(Molina) Kuntze

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Caesalpinia pectinata Cav.

Caesalpinia tara Ruiz & Pav.

Caesalpinia tinctoria (Kunth) Benth.

Caesalpinia tinctoria DC.

Coulteria tinctoria (Molina) Kunth

Poinciana spinosa Molina

Tara spinosa (Molina) Britton & Rose

Common Name:

Caesalpinia spinosa
Inflorescence
Photograph by: mauroguanandi
Creative Commons License
Caesalpinia spinosa Caesalpinia spinosa Caesalpinia spinosa Caesalpinia spinosa Caesalpinia spinosa

General Information

Caesalpinia spinosa is a spiny, evergreen shrub or small tree with a spreading crown; it can grow 3 - 8 metres tall[
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
].
The plant is a very rich source of tannins and is commonly harvested from the wild and also cultivated, both for local use and for export. The plant also produces a food-grade gum, and has local uses as a dye and medicine. It is sometimes grown as a living fence.

Known Hazards

The high tannin content of the pods may be lethal if consumed in large quantities by animals[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Botanical References

434
Title
Flora of Peru
Publication
 
Author
Macbride. J.F.
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent attempt at a Flora of Peru, though it is clear that many of the plants were imperfectly known at that time and so information on them was sketchy. Available for download from the Internet.

Range

S. America - Argentina, northern Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela.

Habitat

Forests and semi desert areas of the Interandine region, along the higher, cooler, inner slopes of both Cordilleras of Ecuador[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height6.00 m
Growth RateFast
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of higher elevations in the Andean mountains, it has been cultivated from the warm temperate to the very dry and seasonally wet tropics. It can grow in areas where the mean annual temperatures are within the range 14 - 28°c, and the mean annual rainfall is in the range 660 - 1,730mm[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Succeeds in full sun and partial sun[
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.8 - 7.5[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
A fast-growing plant[
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
].
Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

The endosperm of the seed (22% of the total seed weight) yields a gum of commercial value. It is a white to yellowish powder and consists chiefly of galactomannan-type polysaccharides. The gum is used as a thickening agent and stabilizer in the food industry[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]..

Medicinal

The powder contained within the seedpods is used as an eyewash[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
434
Title
Flora of Peru
Publication
 
Author
Macbride. J.F.
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent attempt at a Flora of Peru, though it is clear that many of the plants were imperfectly known at that time and so information on them was sketchy. Available for download from the Internet.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is sometimes grown as a live fence in Peru[303.

Other Uses

The pods contain around 50% tannin, about twice as much as sumac (Rhus spp)[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
434
Title
Flora of Peru
Publication
 
Author
Macbride. J.F.
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent attempt at a Flora of Peru, though it is clear that many of the plants were imperfectly known at that time and so information on them was sketchy. Available for download from the Internet.
]. The high content of hydrolysable tan has made it interesting for the extraction of gallic acid and ink manufacturing[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Sticks of the wood are split up finely; urine is poured over the pieces of wood, which are then set out in the sun. Urine is repeatedly poured over them, until they are well soaked. After airing, the sticks are boiled in water, together with red tiri (Stereoxylon resinosum) and woollen or cotton fabrics. The dye produced is a purplish red[
630
Title
Botanical Museum Leaflets Vol 28
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University; Cambridge, Mass.
Year
1981
ISBN
 
Description
An article on the Ethnopharmacological uses of plants in northwestern S. America, amongst many other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The dried fruit is boiled with a bit of soot and woollens soaked in iron sulphate or vitriol without acid. The fabric produced will be dyed a beautiful clove colour[
630
Title
Botanical Museum Leaflets Vol 28
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University; Cambridge, Mass.
Year
1981
ISBN
 
Description
An article on the Ethnopharmacological uses of plants in northwestern S. America, amongst many other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

A gum is obtained from the seed. It is used in the food industry[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The wood is durable[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.

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