Dialium cochinchinense Pierre - CAESALPINIACEAE

English   Lao   

Botanical descriptions Habitat and ecology Distribution

Botanical descriptions :

Diagnostic characters : Large deciduous trees, usually buttressed, resinous exudates turning red. Leaves imparipinnate, alternate, leaflets alternate, glabrous, without glands or dots. Flowers white. Fruit is an ovoid pod looking like berry blackening when ripen grouped in panicle. Seeds covered with whitish pulp when young.
Habit : Large deciduous tree, up to 35 m high, 80-100 cm in diameter. Branches ascending to the main trunk.
Trunk & bark : Trunk straight, slightly buttressed at base. Bark smooth, lenticellate, slightly rugose, grey or whitish grey, inner bark brownish.
Branches and branchlets or twigs : Twigs terete, glabrous, puberulent when young.
Exudates : Transparent resinous exudates turning reddish.
Leaves : Leaves compound, imparipinnate, alternate spiral, leaflets alternate, 4 -7 by 1.5 - 4.5 cm sized, ovate to elliptic, apex slightly acuminate, base rounded, slightly oblique, margin entire, glabrous on both sides.
Midrib flat above, primary vein single, secondary veins oblique to the midrib, widely parallel, anastomosing near the margin, tertiary veins finely reticulate. Rachis 10 cm long. Stipule small, caducous.
Inflorescences or flowers : Flowers white grouped in terminal or axillary panicle, bisexual, pedicel shorter than 5 mm, pubescent to glabrous.
Fruits : Fruit is a pod, ovoid, slightly laterally compressed, 1.5 by 0.8-0.9 cm sized, finely pubescent to velvety, light green when young becoming black when mature.
Seeds : One to two seeds per pod, longitudinally and finely striate, covered with whitish pulp when young, becoming reddish brown.

Habitat and ecology :

In evergreen or mixed deciduous forests up to 800 m altitude in mixture with Dalbergia spp, Stereospermum spp., Terminalia spp., Shorea spp. Flowering period: March to July; fruiting time: June to November.

Distribution :

Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos (Khammouan, Savannakhet, Vientiane,…).

Remark/notes/uses :
The wood is used as house pillars and in making pulleys, rice mills and wheel hubs for carts. The bark yields a brown dye and is a substitute for Areca in betel quid. The fruit of the velvet tamarind is used for a desert, ripened fruits are mixed with sugar and chilli peppers, wrapped in thin plastic sheets and sold in markets.

Specimens studied :
BT 28, BT 206 (Herbarium of Faculty of Sciences-NUoL, NHN-Leiden and CIRAD-Montpellier).

Literature :
Dung, Vu Van. 1996. Vietnam Forest Trees. Agriculture Publishing House, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Flore Générale de l’Indochine. 1908-1916. Vol.2, Fasc. 1-3. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Laboratoire de Phanérogamie, Paris, France.
Hoang Van Sam, K. Nathavong & P.J.A. Keβler. 2004. Trees of Laos and Vietnam: A field guide to 100 economically or ecologically important species. Blumea no 49.
Larsen K., Larsen S.S. & Vidal J.E. 1980. Leguminosae- Caesalpiniaceae. Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Viêtnam, No 18. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France.
Larsen K., Larsen S.S. & Vidal J.E. 1984. Leguminosae- Caesalpiniaceae. Flora of Thailand, Vol. 4, part 1. The Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand.
Tree Flora of Malaya. 1983. A manual for Foresters, Vol. 1. Forest Department, West Malaysia. Multiprint Services.

Top of the page