The Rain Tree is a large, deciduous tree of the lowland tropics with a broad, dome-shaped canopy. It is called the Rain Tree because the leaves fold up when it rains, allowing the rain to fall through the canopy. It has a fast growth rate and can grow to an enormous size. Large specimens are some of the most spectacular tropical trees. They have a massive trunk and a low, symmetrical canopy with very wide spreading branches. The trunk can be up to 9 feet in diameter and the canopy can be about 200 feet across. The trunk is crooked or leaning and it has rough, gray bark. Leaves are bipinnately compound with pairs of bright green leaflets. They are 12-15 inches long. Flowers are pink and white with many long, slender stamens. They are in powderpuff-like clusters on long stalks. The flowers are similar to those of the related mimosa or silk tree, Albizia julibrissin. The pods are long and dark brown when mature. They have conspicuously thickened edges. The pods contain a brown, sweet, edible pulp. A lemon-flavored drink is made from the pulp. It is also called the Monkey Pod tree because monkeys eat the fruits. The wood is lightweight, strong and durable. It is golden brown with cream-colored sapwood. It is used to make furniture. The wood is highly prized for carvings for its rich, light and dark brown pattern and because it takes a fine polish. The bark is a source of gums and resins. Leaves seeds and bark are used medicinally. The Rain tree is native to Central America and South America. It is grown as a shade and specimen tree in filed, parks and gardens and it is also grown as a shade tree for crops. It is widely used as a street tree to line avenues. It is easy to grow and it prefers full sun. It can grow in a variety of soils and is tolerant of drought. It can also grow in infertile and water-logged soils. Young trees can grow up to 5 feet in one year. It is a durable and adaptable tree and can be grown in warm regions around the world.
Growing Instructions for the Rain Tree
The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout. 1. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 2. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. 3. Put a mixture of potting soil and sand or perlite into a pot with drainage holes in the base. The soil should be moist and well-drained. 4. Sow the seeds on the soil. 5. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. 6. Water the seeds. Keep the soil moist but not wet. 7. When the plants are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.