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  Parkia speciosa Hassk.
  Family Name : Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

  Synonyms : Parkia harbesonii, Parkia macrocarpa

  Common Names : Petai, Stink Bean, Twisted Cluster Bean, Nitta Tree, Nyiring, 臭豆, 葱豆

Petai,Stink Bean,Twisted Cluster Bean,Nitta Tree,Nyiring,臭豆,葱豆
  • Record Info
    • Featured in '1001 Garden Plants in Singapore' Book (2ed) :
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Tree (Big (>30m); Medium (16m-30m); Small (6m-15m))
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Plant Shape :
      Umbrella, Open
      Maximum Height :
      15 m to 45 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      South Thailand, Sumatra, Malay Peninsular, Singapore, Palawan, and Borneo
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest; Secondary Rainforest; Riverine)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Local Conservation Status :
      Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: It is an umbrella-shaped tree that can grow up to 45 m tall, with pinkish or reddish-brown bark, and can form buttress roots.
      Trunk: Trunk up to 1 m in diameter, covered with smooth reddish-brown bark, branches minutely covered with fine short hairs.
      Foliage: It has alternate, stalked, twice pinnate compound leaves that are 11–45 cm long. The leaves have 11–25 pairs of side-stalk, and each has 18–42 pairs of leaflets. The leaflets are oblong, and 3–12 by 1–3 mm.
      Flowers: The plant produces bisexual flowers. The flowers are tiny, cream-white, and clustering on a bomb-shaped head. The heads are stalked, and 5¬.1–8.9 cm long.
      Fruits: Its fruits are long, straight or twisted pods that are up to 51 by 6.4 cm, and green. Each pod contains 18 seeds, which are foul smelling, green, elliptic, up to 2.3 cm across.
      [Others]: In its native range, the flowering and fruiting season of P. speciosa takes place between August to October, with an observed smaller peak between January to March. The wood of P. speciosa is susceptible to wood boring pests, such as the Lyctus beetle, and wood-staining fungi. Seeds are known to be attacked by moth larvae. 
      Associated Fauna :
      Its flowers are pollinated by bats. The seeds are eaten by mammals and hornbills. Squirrels have also been observed stripping the bark of Parkia speciosa trees to eat the inner bark. It is also the butterfly host plant for the Plain Nawab butterfly (Polyura hebe).
      Cultivation :
      Occasionally cultivated, but rarely outside its native area, ample space and light is needed for P. speciosa to grow, though some shade is required for the young saplings. Well-drained loamy or clay-loam soils are preferred, but the plant is also able to grow in waterlogged soils. Growth in pot is also possible, though this may limit the size of the plant. Growth is slow with domesticated trees taking up to 7 years to reach maturity. P. speciosa can be propagated from seed, stem cuttings and budding.
      Etymology :
      Latin Parkia, commemorates Mungo Park, a Scottish explorer, Latin speciosa, handsome, the reference to the appearance of the tree when mature.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Flowers; Edible Seeds; Edible Leaves)
      Food (Fruit & Vegetable: Seeds often used as vegetable in Southeast Asian cooking for their garlicky scent and flavour. The scent may be considered foul by some people, hence its common name the “Stink Bean”, and on occasion referred to as the “evil-smelling bean”. The fresh seeds, young or ripe, may be eaten raw, cooked or roasted as a side-dish with rice. Seeds are also sun-dried then fried in oil and eaten as a snack. Semi-ripe pods pickled in salt. Young leaves and fresh flower stalks can be eaten raw, but not used to a great extent. ; Herb & Spice)
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Flowers; Edible Seeds; Edible Leaves), Medicinal (Seeds have hypoglycemic properties, traditionally used as folk remedy to lower blood sugar and treat diabetes, as well as kidney pain and colic. Also eaten to expel stomach gas. Seed pulp applied to wounds and ulcers. ), Timber & Products (P. speciosa yields a lightweight, occasionally medium-weight hardwood, with a straight or slightly-interlocked grain and moderately coarse and uneven texture and having an unpleasant garlic or bean-like odour when fresh. Wood pulp used to manufacture paper. Untreated wood has service lifespan of around 1 year due to susceptibility to insect attack. Lightweight timber used as plywood, for temporary light construction, cladding, interior finishes and carpentry, as well as to make furniture, crates, fishing floats, clogs, matches and disposable chopsticks.), Cultural / Religious (

      Heritage Tree :                                                                                                                           
      There is currently one individual of Parkia speciosa listed as Heritage Tree in Singapore. It can be found on Sentosa. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.
      [Others]: It is sometimes cultivated as a shade tree, such as in plantations and nurseries.
  • Landscaping Features
    • Landscaping :
      This is a hardy tree that has attractive leaves, straight trunk with pinkish or reddish brown bark, and can grow on poor soil.
      Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage, Fragrant (Fruits; Stems; [Remarks]: Wood)
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
      Landscape Uses :
      General, Parks & Gardens, Shade Providing Tree / Palm
      Thematic Landscaping :
      Naturalistic Garden, Economic Garden
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Associated Fauna :
      Bird-Attracting, Caterpillar Food Plant, Bat Food
      Pollination Method(s) :
      Biotic (Fauna)
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
      Biotic (Fauna), Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      Moderate Water
      Propagation Method :
  • Foliar
    • Foliage Retention :
      Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Foliar Type :
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Foliar Attachment to Stem :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage
      Foliar Venation :
      Pinnate / Net
      Foliar Margin :
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      2.5 (Tree - Open Canopy)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower & Plant Sexuality :
      Bisexual Flowers
      Flower Colour(s) :
      Cream / Off-White, White, Yellow / Golden
      Flower Grouping :
      Cluster / Inflorescence
      Flower Location :
      Flower Symmetry :
      Flowering Habit :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Black, Brown
      Fruit Classification :
      Simple Fruit
      Fruit Type :
      Dehiscent Dry Fruit (Legume / Pod)
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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