There is some confusion over the identity of this species. We are following the treatment in 'Ptatymiscium (Leguminosae: Dalbergieae): Biogeography Systematics, Morphology, Taxonomy and Uses.'[
], which treats Platymiscium parviflorum as the correct name. However, 'Timber Trees of Meso America'[
], accepts Platymiscium pleiostachyum as valid, listing Platymiscium parviflorum (without author) as a synonym. However, the most recent (2012) information from the International Legume Database (ILDIS) is that both names are valid species[
Platymiscium pleiostachyum Donn.Sm.
Platymiscium pleiostachyum is a tree with a spreading crown; it usually grows around 15 metres tall, though specimens up to 25 metres have been recorded. The bole can be 25 - 100cm in diameter and there are often small, rounded buttresses at the base of larger trees[
The tree is widely harvested from the wild for its attractive timber, which is traded locally[
]. A very ornamental tree, producing a prolific display of sweetly-scented yellow or orange flowers for about 3 months of the year[
The species is scarce, individuals often show signs of genetic degradation and regeneration is largely absent. The plant is classified as 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
C. America - Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala.
Remnant dry forests and woodlands on flat ground, including disturbed or secondary forest[
]. Scattered in dry deciduous forests, on dry hillsides, from sea level to around 900 metres[
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A slow-growing tree[
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.
The tree is often left to provide shade in coffee plantations when the forest is cleared for agriculture[
The sweetly-scented flowers are very attractive to bees[
The light-coloured wood is hard[
]. An attractive wood, it is used in house construction and to make furniture and musical instruments, including drums, marimbas and xylophones[
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