Tree Bean
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Tree Bean
ative Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Tree Bean • Assamese: Khorial • Bengali: মনিপুরি সেম Manipuri sem • Garo: Aoelgap • Hindi: Supota, Kharial • Manipuri: ꯌꯣꯡꯆꯥꯛ Yongchak • Kannada: ಶಿವಲಿಂಗದ ಮರ Shivalingada Mara • Marathi: Unkampinching • Mizo: Zawngtah • Angami: Miakruruc, Kuinyumero
Botanical name: Parkia timoriana    Family: Mimosaceae (Touch-me-not family)
Synonyms: Parkia javanica, Parkia roxburghii

Tree Bean is a very large tree, 25-40 m in height, found in North-East India. The leaves are evenly bipinnate and 30-80 cm long. The pinnae are 40-60 in number, and 8-20 cm long. The leaflets are 60-140, linear-oblong, 6-12 mm long, close-set, shining above, and pointed at the tip. The flower-heads are dense, obovoid or perform, up to 6 cm long, hanging from leaf axils like old-fashioned electric bulbs, on long cable-like stalks. The flowers are white and yellow, about 1 cm long. The pods are 25-30 cm long, about 3.5 cm wide, rather thick, pendulous, and black and shinning when mature, and contain from 15-20 seeds. The pods are edible, and are considered a delicacy in Manipur. Their pulp is golden yellow, with a sweetish taste and an odor like that of violets. The roasted seeds are used in certain parts of Africa to make an infusion like coffee, for which reason they have been called soudan Coffee.
Medicinal uses: Pods are used in bleeding piles. Bark extract is given in diarrhoea and dysentery. Bark and leaves are employed for making lotion applied to sores and skin affections.

Identification credit: Thingnam Sophia Photographed in Manipur.

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