Sunday, March 21, 2010
Monkey Pod / Rain Tree / Samanea saman
botanical name: Samanea saman
Other name: Rain Tree, Saman, French Tamarind, Ohai Tree, Mimosa.
The money pod tree is originated in Central and South America, but is now common throughout the tropics as a shade tree and are so beautiful. Monkey Pod tree produces a large, dome-shaped canopy and can grow to 50-80 feet tall with a trunk 5 feet in diameter. It has low spreading branches with evergreen oval leaflets. The leaflets are light sensitive and fold together on the approach of rain, or on cloudy days. The tree produces thousands of "powder puff" type flowers that have long, bicolor pink and white stamens that are grouped in dense heads, with multiple flowers per head.
How to grow
This tree is easy to grow; it does best in full sun or very light shade, planted in rich well-drained soil, acidic to slightly alkaline like its natural environments. This is an excellent container plant for the cooler climates and for the tropical regions a beautiful landscape plant. Monkey Pod will not tolerate shade, frost, or low temperatures. Zones 10-11, Minimum Temp 35 F degrees
Great wood for carving. The fruits are woody pods which contain several seeds and a pulp that is supposedly sugar sweet and edible.
How to sprout the Monkey Pod Tree seeds:
Clean the seed well of all fruit by scrubbing it lightly under lukewarm running water. Make sure that you remove all of the pulp.
Fill a small bowl with hot water, at least 175 degrees F. Botanists with the Bishop Museum suggest using water volume five times the seed volume.
Place the seed in the bowl of hot water, allow to sit for two minutes, stir, then remove them and place them in a bowl of lukewarm water, 86 to 104 degrees F, for 24 hours.
Combine three parts potting soil, one part sand and one part compost. Fill the planting pot with the mixture and water it well, allowing the excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot.
Plant the monkey pod seed 1/2 inch into the soil, cover lightly and place the pot in a warm area, such as on top of the refrigerator. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Germination should occur within 10 days.
Allow your seedling to grow to a height of 8 inches prior to planting it outdoors. This may take from three to five months.
Plant the seedling in a location that receives sun all day. The monkey pod seedling will die in the shade. Pull any weeds around the seedling as soon as they appear, so that the seedling doesn't have to compete for sunlight and moisture.