Mexican Lilac
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Mexican Lilac
ntroduced Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Mexican lilac, Mother of cocoa, Quickstick • Tamil: சீமை அகத்தி Seemai agathi • Malayalam: Seema konna • Telugu: Madri • Bengali: Saranga • Kannada: ಗೊಬ್ಬರದ ಮರ Gobbarada mara
Botanical name: Gliricidia sepium    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Gliricidia maculata

Tree from Mexico and South America that is used both to provide shade to chocolate trees and also enrich the soil; hence the common name meaning "mother of cocoa." The wood is durable and useful for posts and railway ties. It is a small to medium-sized, thornless tree which usually attains a height of 10-12 m. Branching is frequently from the base with basal diameters reaching 50-70 cm. The bark is smooth but can vary in colour from whitish grey to deep red-brown. The stem and branches are commonly flecked with small white lenticels.Infloresences appear as clustered racemes on distal parts on new and old wood, 5-15 cm long, flowers borne singly with 20-40 per raceme. Flowers bright pink to lilac, tinged with white, usually with a diffuse pale yellow spot at the base of the standard petal, calyx glabrous, green, often tinged red. The best time for the flowers is February to April. The fruit is a 2-valved long pod. In various parts of America, the bark is used as rat poison.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Maharashtra and Bangalore.

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