Botanical Name: Andira inermis
Common Name: Brown-heart
Origin: Native to Mexico, the West Indies, Tropical Central America and West Africa
A medium to large tree that generally grown to about 15 –25m in height in our urban settings (although heights of 30m and above have been reported in its natural surroundings). The crown is dome-shaped, dense and dark green in colour.
The leaves are pinnate compound, between 16 – 30cm in length. Each leaf has 4 – 5pairs of fairly large (between 4 – 9cm long by 3 – 6cm wide), pointed, oval-shaped shiny dark green.
The flowers are small, pea-like, lilac to purple in colour, without scent and grow in large dense bunches.
The fruits are green, and they ripen to a dark brown or blackish colour. They are round in shape and are about the size of a ping-pong ball (approximately 4 – 5cm) and contain a single seed.
The bark is dull-brown to reddish brown, slightly rough and fissured. The wood is coarse-grained and is yellowish-brown to dark reddish-brown in colour, with a distinctive figure.
Point of interest
Andira inermis is a hardy tree that can grow under varying rainfall and soil conditions. Saplings germinate easily from fallen fruit so propagation is easy from seed. This tree is evergreen and flowers 2 – 3 times a year, usually after dry weather. Unfortunately, the fallen flowers can be quite profuse at times and may be troubles to sweep and clean. Also, this tree has been found to be susceptible to basal rot and is sometimes prone to uprooting or snapping of branches during windstorm. As a result, it is no longer popular for roadside planting, especially in residential areas. However, it is still suitable for planting in parks, open spaces and large gardens.
Andira inermis provides good shade as a park or garden tree. As the wood is quite resistant to termite, insect and fungal attack, it is used in boat building, house framing and heavy construction like building bridges and railroad tracks. Other uses include making furniture, decorative veneer, woodturning and even making umbrella handles and billiard cues.
East Coast Park, West Coast Park and Pasir Ris Park.