Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Samanea saman (Jacq.) Merr.

Click/tap on images to enlarge
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Merrill, E.D. (1916) J. Wash Acad. Sci. 6: 47.

Common name

French Tamarind; Monkeypod; Rain Tree; Saman; Tamarind, Cow; Tamarind, French; Cow Tamarind


Bark very coarsely flaky. Dead bark layered.


Leaflet blades almost sessile, about 1.5-4 x 1-2.5 cm, the leaflet stalks only 1 mm or less in length. A gland or pair of glands normally present on the upper surface of the compound leaf petiole where the secondary axes are attached. Similar glands occur on the upper surface of the secondary axes just below the point of attachment of the leaflets. Stipules small and inconspicuous. Leaflet apex mucronate.


Flowers in long peduncled umbels or heads with the central flower in each umbel larger than the others. Calyx and corolla both clothed in yellowish hairs. Calyx about 7 mm long, corolla about 14 mm long. Staminal filaments pink in the upper half, but white in the lower half. Staminal filaments about 35-40 mm long.


Pods hard and woody, about 20-25 x 2 cm. Seeds +/- transversely oriented in the pod, flat, up to 15 mm long.


Cotyledons rather fleshy, venation obscure. First pair of leaves compound, one leaf usually pinnate and the other bipinnate; petiole, compound leaf axes and leaflets hairy, at least when young. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves bipinnate with about 16-20 leaflets; small raised glands normally visible on the upper surface of the compound leaf axis between the attachment points of the secondary axes; all parts of the compound leaf hairy at least when young; stipules filiform. Seed germination time 8 to 16 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species, originally from Mexico, Central and South America, widely cultivated throughout the tropics, now naturalised in places in NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range small, from near sea level to 100 m. Grows in rain forest regrowth and on old farmland.

Natural History & Notes

A very large shady tree commonly cultivated as a street tree and in parks and gardens through out the tropics.

Pithecellobium saman (Jacq.) Benth., London Jour. Botany 3: 216(1844). Albizia saman (Jacq.) F. Muell., Select. Extra-Trop. Pl. : 27(1891). Inga saman (Jacq.) Willd., Species Plantarum 4th edn 4: 1024(1806). Calliandra saman (Jacq.) Griseb., Flora British West Indies : 225(1864). Mimosa saman Jacq., Fragm. Bot. 1: t. 9(1800), Type: Ab incolis vocatur Saman. Venezuela.
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.