Ormosia dasycarpa Jacks.
Ormosia subsessilis Pittier
Podalyria monosperma Poir
Sophora monosperma Sw.
Virgilia rubiginosa DC.
Seedpods opening to reveal the seed
Photograph by: Tatters
Ormosia monosperma is a tree that can grow to about 17 metres tall[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of wood. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental[
The plants, but especially the seed and perhaps also the bark, of many if not all species in this genus contain alkaloids and are toxic[
S. America - northern Venezuela; Caribbean - Trinidad to the Windward and Leeward Islands.
Dense primary forests, usually on hillsides, at elevations up to 1,600 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
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[
An infusion of the cooked seeds is drunk as a treatment for pains of the heart[
The cooked seeds are placed in water, then given to children to put around their necks as a remedy for sore throat[
We have seen no specific reports for this species, but the brightly coloured seeds of various members of this genus are so commonly used as beads that the tree is known as the necklace tree[
The wood is coarse-grained and hard. It is used for general construction and shingles[
We do not have any more information on the wood of this species, but a general description for the wood of S. American members of this genus is as follows:-
The heartwood is pinkish to reddish, mostly salmon-coloured, sometimes yellowish-brown, more or less streaked; it is not always distinct from the yellowish sapwood. The texture is coarse to very coarse; the grain mostly irregular; lustre usually medium; it feels harsh; there is no distinctive odour or taste. The wood is generally reported to be quite susceptible to attack by decay fungi; it is vulnerable to dry-wood termites, and prone to powder-post beetle attack
(sapwood). It generally air dries very slowly; checking and warp vary from slight to moderate. For most species, the wood is reported to saw and machine easily, with fair to good results; surfaces, however, are somewhat rough and difficult to finish. It is used for furniture components, interior construction, general carpentry, and utility veneer[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. 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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