Tree growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Matt Lavin
Poecilanthe ulei is a semideciduous tree with a dense, globose crown; it can grow 5 - 8 metres tall, occasionally reaching 15 metres. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 30 - 40cm in diameter[
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use of its wood. It is used to provide shade in cacao plantations and, since it is an ornamental small tree, it can be used in urban landscaping[
S. America - eastern Brazil.
Atlantic rainforest and semi-arid forest, mainly in more open and secondary growth areas, favouring fertile, well-drained sites[
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A plant of the 'Caatinga' dry forest region of northeast Brazil. The climate is hot and dry, there are usually 6 to 11 months without rain each year. The mean annual rainfall varies from 250 - 1,000mm, and the mean annual temperature is from 24 - 26°c.
Requires a sunny position[
]. Prefers a fertile, well-drained soil[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
Young plants have a fast rate of growth[
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 plant is used as a shade tree in cacoa plantations[
The wood is medium-textured, irregular to spiral-grained, heavy, hard to cut, with a good resistance to rot. Although only available in fairly small sizes, the wood is used for small carpentry work and in general construction[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed. A germination rate of more than 60 % can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 7 - 14 days[
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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