Family: Mimosaceae (Touch-me-not family)
Genus: Albizia
Botanical name: Albizia saman
Sanskrit: Shiriisha
Hindi: Gulabi Siris, Vilaiti siris
English: Rain Tree, Coco tamarind, Acacia preta, French tamarind, Saman, Monkey pod
Malayalam: Mazhamaram, Urakkamthuungimaram
Rain Tree is a wide-canopied tree with a large symmetrical crown. It usually reaches a height of 25 m (82 ft) and a diameter of 40 m (130 ft). The leaves fold in rainy weather and in the evening, hence the name "rain tree" and "five o'clock tree" (Pukul Lima) in Malay. Several lineages of this tree are available, e.g., with reddish pink and creamish golden colored flowers.
During his 1799–1804 travels in the Americas, Alexander von Humboldt encountered a giant saman tree near Maracay, Venezuela. He measured the circumference of the parasol-shaped crown at 576 ft (about 180.8 m ), its diameter was around 190 ft (about 59.6 m), on a trunk at 9 ft (about 2.8 m) in diameter and reaching just 60 ft (nearly 19 m) in height. Humboldt mentioned the tree was reported to have changed little since the Spanish colonization of Venezuela; he estimated it to be as old as the famous Canary Islands dragon tree(Dracaena draco) of Icod de los Vinos on Tenerife.
The root decoction is used in hot baths for stomach cancer in Venezuela. Rain Tree is a traditional remedy for colds, diarrhea, headache, intestinal ailments and stomachache.
The leaf infusion is used as a laxative In the West Indies, seeds are chewed for sore throat. The alchoolic extract of the leaves inhibits Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In Colombia, the fruit decoction is used as a sedative.
Albizia saman
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