Rain tree Albizia saman

Rain Tree

Common name Rain Tree/ Money Pod Tree
Botanical Name Albizia saman (previously Samanea saman)
Family Fabaceae
Natural range Central America
Mature height 25m-plus
Form Umbrella shape
Likes Tolerates a wide range of light, medium, and heavy soils.
Dislikes n/a
Where to plant Adapts to a wide range of soil types and pH levels.
Known for Huge, spreading symmetrical canopy; often wider than it is high

Ever Heard of the Majestic Rain Tree?

Imagine a tree with a massive, symmetrical canopy that offers a sight as intriguing as its name – the Rain Tree, also known as the Monkey Pod Tree. This remarkable tree, which hails from Central America, instantly made a lasting impression during a visit to Sri Lanka. Its grand silhouette and widespread canopy simply demand attention.

Where Do Rain Trees Grow?

In a fascinating turn of events, these exotic trees have now naturalised in Queensland, making it a part of the local flora. What does ‘naturalised’ mean? It’s when an introduced species manages to reproduce in a new region without any human aid. Unfortunately, in some areas, they’ve grown so prolifically they’re considered an environmental weed.

How Big Does a Rain Tree Get?

Rain Trees are real showstoppers, boasting a height of 15-25m and a magnificent spreading canopy. Hardy and fast-growing, they provide an impressive amount of shade. Surprisingly, after their initial establishment phase, they can thrive even with limited water. In some drier countries, they’re even planted as cattle fodder.

Why is it Called the Rain Tree?

The name ‘Rain Tree’ has an interesting backstory. These trees have a habit of folding their leaves during rainy weather and at night, which creates a microclimate for the plants growing under their canopies. This unique feature allows rain to fall directly on the ground, promoting a cooling effect.

What Does a Rain Tree Do During the Day?

During the day, Rain Trees perform a little miracle of their own. Their leaves unfold to a horizontal position, providing full shade, which helps to preserve moisture. This ability to adapt their leaf position is just one of the reasons why Rain Trees are so fascinating.

Evergreen or Deciduous?

During dry spells, Rain Trees show their resilience by shedding their leaves temporarily, adopting a semi-deciduous nature. However, in regions with a definite dry season, they might remain leafless for a few weeks but regrow quickly given sufficient moisture. In more humid climates, they often appear evergreen due to this characteristic.

Fun Facts about Rain Trees:
  1. Rain Trees are among the few trees that can change their leaf position based on the weather.
  2. They have a wide, symmetrical canopy that often extends wider than their height.
  3. They are fast-growing and hardy, even in low-water conditions.
  4. Rain Trees are naturalised in Queensland and can thrive without human aid.
  5. In drier climates, they adopt a semi-deciduous nature, shedding leaves temporarily during dry spells.
Links for Further Reading:
  1. Discover More About Rain Trees and Their Habitats
  2. Fascinating Features of the Rain Tree
  3. The Environmental Impact of Naturalised Rain Trees
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