Family Leguminosae

Adenanthera pavonina

India, SE China to Maluku, wild on rocky headlands of east coast and
forest with Eugenia grandis and Sterculia foetida. Hard red heart
shaped seeds, said to be used for weighing gold. Name from Latin ‘pavo’

Archidendron jiringa / Pithecelobium jiringa

LEGUMINOSAE subfamily Mimosoideae


Burma, Thailand, W. Malesia. Fruit eaten raw or blanched. Pounded
with ginger and boiled, to eliminate bladder stones. Purple dye from

Caesalpinia sappan


Caesalpinia sappan.

Caesalpinia sappan.

Caesalpinia sappan trunk.

Cynometra iripa

katong laut

Shrub or small tree to 8m, mainly coastal but also inland, from India to Micronesia. Knobbly pod
with lateral beak. 1 fr TH 11.09

Cynometra iripa.
Cynometra malaccensis

kekatong, katong
katong, belangan

India, Siam, through Malaya, common exc. Johor. Big, up to 40m, straight bole, sometimes fluted, like sepetir (Sindora), buttress
like keranji (Dialium). Crown dense with numerous sub crowns, new foliage in dry season pink then pale green tassels.


Dialium indum

keranji kertas besar

Uncommon, Malaya, Sumatra, Banka, Java, Borneo. Found west of Wallace’s Line. Big slender trees. Pod roundish, brittle, one seeded; aril function transferred to the endocarp, pulpy and edible. Fruits traded to Singapore (Burkill).

Dialium patens

keranji paya

S Malaya, Billiton, Banka, Borneo.  Locally common, esp coastal Pahang. In low lying areas incl peat swamp. Fr Tunas Harapan 6.2012.

Dialium platysepalum

keranji kuning besar

Common throughout Malayan lowland forest. Sumatra and Borneo, genus
only west of Wallace’s Line. Edible fruit in a pod unusual for the
family: small, roundish and brittle, the one seeeded structure does
not break open.

Dialium wallichii
keranji kuning kecil

In Malesia all spp. west of Wallace’s Line. Big slender trees, to
40m & 3m girth, mature crown shallow domed, diffuse. Leaves simple
pinnate w/ terminal leaflet. This sp. leaves velvety under, dull brown
or golden with a beautiful silky sheen.

Intsia palembanica


Throughout Malaya, Siam, Andamans, Malesia to W. New Guinea. Common
in inland lowland forests, associated with tualang. V. big to 60m, bole often slightly
sinuous, big plank-like buttresses.
Domed crown with ascending big limbs. Very heavy hard wood. Leaves pinnate opposite leaflets,
no terminal leaflet. Small but
showy flowers in terminal panicles. Saplings to 10m straggly.

Koompassia malaccensis


Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo. The outstanding tree of Malaysia’s forests,
extremely large, strong buttresses, v. hard heavy wood. To 60m. Used
for railway sleepers ‘thus are the mighty subjugated’ (Corner). Deciduous
Jan & June. In swamps kempas buttresses much larger than on dry.

Koompassia excelsa


V. big, to 80m, columnar bole, crown bright to pale green, sub-crowns
small and numerous. Central to northern Malaya, valleys and lower
slopes of hills. Fairly common and locally abundant. Not found south
of KL-Kuantan line.

Koompassia excelsa leaf back.

Koompassia excelsa.

Koompassia excelsa leaf.

Milletia atropurpurea

tulang daing

Common throughout Malaya, Burma, Siam, west Malesia. To 30 m, crown dense, bole form often poor. Flowers in terminal panicle, deep purple. Large pods, splitting open when fallen on ground. 1 or 2 seeds per pod.

Ormosia bancana

saga hutan

Malaya, Sumatra, Banka, Borneo. Scattered in coastal forest and along rivers, uncommon. Leaflets like kempas (Koompassia malaccensis) thinly gold and velvety to glabrous below.

Tunas Harapan 6.2012.

Parkia speciosa


Frequently planted in villages, also wild scattered in lowland forest. Pods 12 to 16″ long, straight, wavy or twisted, strongly swollen at the seeds. Young pods and mature seeds esteemed as vegetable, reeking of garlic.

Pithecellobium clypearia (Mimosaceae)

petai belalang, cahar

Abundant in belukar (secondary forest) India to Borneo.

Sindora coriacea

sepetir licin

Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo. Huge column-like trees, to 50m, massive bole and crown. Deciduous for a few weeks, flowering soon after, fruiting 2 months later. Common. This species recognized by glabrous leaves and smooth pods.

Sindora echinocalyx

sepetir daun nipis

Malaya and Riau, on hillsides and ridges, sometimes coastal. Big trees,
massive crown, deciduous, clear growth rings, light hardwood.

Tamarindus indica

asam jawa

Africa; introduced by Arab traders to India & SEAsia (tamar-ul-Hind,
‘the date of India’). Young shoots eaten raw; decoction of leaves
treats fever. Pulp of fruit added to curry for sourness; bark a poultice
for sores and boils.